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(LEAD) Moon pledges full support in swift phase 3 clinical trial for country's first home-developed vaccine: spokesperson

All News 16:18 August 10, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 8-10)

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday promised to provide full governmental support to swiftly and sufficiently move forward the phase three clinical trial of the country's first home-developed vaccine candidate.

The government announced earlier in the day that South Korean drugmaker SK Bioscience Co. has won an approval to conduct the phase three clinical trial of GBP510.

In response to the news, Moon said "the government will provide full-fledged support to ensure that the domestic clinical trial can be conducted swiftly and sufficiently," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with his senior secretaries at the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, in Seoul on Aug. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

The president also expressed hope for successful commercialization of South Korea's first home-developed coronavirus vaccine product, Park added.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Moon has consistently underscored the need for South Korea to have its own proprietary vaccine product, as Seoul has remained reliant entirely on foreign drug makers for its coronavirus vaccination.

On Monday, Moon stated that the country will "speed up developments of domestic vaccines as to not be swayed by overseas companies" and also aggressively push forward with its strategy to become a global vaccine.

The president also said, in a vaccine hub strategy meeting last week, that South Korea plans to invest 2.2 trillion won (US$1.92 billion) in the next five years to become the world's fifth-largest vaccine-producing nation.

In light of a shortage of Moderna vaccines in August due to the company's production issues, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said the government will "do its best to speed up vaccine acquisition and administration to meet its goal of inoculating 36 million people with their first jabs before the Chuseok fall harvest holiday" in September.

The U.S. company has notified the government that it plans to supply less than half of the 8.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine planned for August, spawning concerns that the country's vaccine rollout may hit a snag amid the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The official added that the vice health minister is reportedly planning to visit the U.S. to consult with Moderna officials to ensure smooth vaccine provisions to South Korea and potentially hold talks with other drug manufacturers to discuss matters relating to vaccine supplies.

This photo from Jan. 20, 2021, shows SK Bioscience Co.'s vaccine manufacturing plant in Andong, 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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