The government said Thursday it would invest 215.1 billion won ($175 million) over the next 10 years in research and development of vaccines for COVID-19, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and hand-foot-and-mouth disease, among others.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said the money will be spent throughout the entire cycle of vaccine development, from finding candidate substances to clinical trials, starting in July.
The project to develop Korea’s own vaccines will cover not only vaccine technology but also research on the production process and manufacturing of samples for clinical trials so that it leads to vaccine development and production within the country, the ministry said.
The ministry chose the Yonsei University-industry collaboration group, headed by professor Seong Baik-lin, as the project lead.
“The project will take over research on development of candidate substances for a COVID-19 vaccine, and support follow-up study for non-clinical and clinical trials,” the ministry said in a press release.
The project, devised by the ministry and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018, passed a preliminary feasibility study in March.
The Yonsei University team will use the facilities provided by the KCDC’s vaccine development support center, which is slated to be completed in October.
It will cooperate with the national virus and infectious disease research center, which will be set up under the KCDC, to tackle infectious diseases.
“The vaccine development project will serve as a bridge that links basic research for compulsory vaccinations and new infectious diseases to commercialization, and accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Kim Sung-soon, head of the infectious disease research center of the National Institute of Health.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org