By Kim Hyelin and Kim Minji
President Moon Jae-in on April 9 said the government will fully support the development of COVID-19 treatments and a vaccine.
Visiting the think tank Institute Pasteur Korea in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province, he held a joint meeting of industry, academia, research institutes and hospitals on developing COVID-19 treatments and a vaccine.
"The development of treatments and a vaccine is the mountain we must climb to completely overcome COVID-19," he said, adding, "In the same way that we got a head start in these efforts and set an example for the world with our diagnostic technology, I hope we can save lives for humanity through the treatments and the vaccine we develop."
President Moon proposed a pan-government support system in which the government cooperates with industry, academia, research institutes and hospitals, saying, "Developing treatments for and a vaccine against infectious diseases requires considerable time and expenses, so it's difficult to produce results in the short term through private-sector efforts alone."
"Only with the backing of government R&D investment and fast-tracked approval procedures will it be possible to speed up the development of treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19."
"The government will also invest KRW 210 billion to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and other illnesses. It will help improve the competitiveness of our medical and vaccine industries, starting with R&D investment in treatment and the setup of a novel coronavirus think tank, which have been reflected in the supplementary budget."
President Moon urged administrative and resource support from related organizations like the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Stressing solidarity and cooperation with the world, he said, "Korea will actively participate in the international community's efforts to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak through a cooperative system led by the World Health Organization and the United Nations."