By Kim Hyelin and Yoon Hee Young
President Moon Jae-in on Feb. 18 visited a factory of the medical device manufacturer Poonglim Pharmatech in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do Province, hailing smaller companies "unafraid of challenge and innovation" for helping secure sufficient supplies for the nation's quarantine efforts.
Once just an importer of medical devices, Poonglim is now a successful maker of low dead space (LDS) syringes for injecting vaccines against COVID-19.
The company's LDS syringes on Feb. 17 received official approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will be used to inject Pfizer's vaccine. Around 20 countries have requested buying the syringes.
"While standard syringes can draw five doses from each vial of vaccine, LDS syringes can squeeze out six by minimizing the amount of residual vaccine left in syringes," the president said. "These syringes' enhanced efficiency saves as much as 20% of the vaccine volume, equivalent to producing 20% more of the vaccine in the end."
He added that the government will spare no effort to support innovative smaller companies that seek opportunity amid crisis and expand exports as well as domestic supply.
The president's visit was intended to encourage the plant's staff to ensure sufficient supply of the syringes at home since other countries are having difficulty securing LDS syringes, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Also accompanying the president at the factory were managers from two other LDS syringe makers, Shina Corp. and Doowon Meditec, as well as staff from the Smart Factory Support Center of Samsung Electronics. The center formed a partnership to help boost the efficiency of the syringe production process.