By Kim Young Deok and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on Oct. 15 explained the status of domestic efforts to develop a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19.
At SK Bioscience's Life Science Research Institute in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province, he said, "Korea, amid fierce competition among global businesses, is also making considerable progress in that area."
President Moon held talks with medical and corporate experts at the institute, expressing confidence that domestic development of vaccines and treatment will succeed.
"Over the past nine months, the Government and the private sector, including businesses, hospitals, universities and research institutes, have mobilized all of their capabilities. During the same period, researchers at our businesses have remained engrossed in research and development day and night," he said.
The chief executive added that the government has actively backed such efforts by opening public R&D facilities, supporting development and approval procedures, and forming a government-led support team for R&D of COVID-19 treatment and vaccines.
"Nineteen clinical trials are underway through drug repositioning to identify treatments that are effective against COVID-19 among previously authorized drugs," he said. "If the development process proceeds seamlessly as a result, we can expect to begin production of drugs to treat COVID-19 in earnest within this year and complete the development of vaccines by next year."
Reaffirming the safety of vaccines and treatment, President Moon said, "The government will keep providing as much support as possible until the end when success is assured."
"When it comes to developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, we are determined to succeed on our own eventually even if other countries succeed with production ahead of us and imports become possible."