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N. Korea claims it is developing coronavirus vaccine

All Headlines 11:01 July 18, 2020

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus on its own, Pyongyang's science research council said Saturday.

According to a report posted on Mirae, the website run by the North's State Commission of Science and Technology, its scientists are currently conducting clinical trials to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

The report said the vaccine development is led by a medical biology institute under the North's Academy of Medical Science using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

North Korea claimed it has confirmed the immunogenicity and safety of its candidate vaccine through animal tests and that clinical trials have started from this month.

The communist state, which has yet to report a single virus case in the country, added that scientists are in discussions on conducting the third phase of clinical study.

North Korea said the bioengineering branch of the State Academy of Sciences is also conducting research for the development of the novel coronavirus vaccine.

Pundits here, however, cast doubt on North Korea's vaccine development considering its financial and medical situations.

This image captured from North Korea's Korean Central Television on March 14, 2020, shows health officials packing face masks. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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