The Korea National Institute of Health will take the helm of local research on multidrug-resistant bacteria, the KNIH head said Thursday.
The public has been paying keen attention to antibiotics resistance particularly since four newborns died at intensive care units at Ewha Womans University Medical Center.
|KNIH Director Park Do-joon|
“Research on multidrug-resistant bacteria, which is on the spotlight due to the recent incident at Ewha hospital, is currently underway through cooperation among multiple ministries including the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Science, Technology and ICT,” KNIH Director Park Do-joon told reporters on Thursday.
“The KNIH is leading the multi-institutional research, acting as a control tower.”
After having meetings with the welfare ministry, science ministry, agriculture ministry, and the food and drug safety ministry, Park said the science ministry’s 40 billion won budget has been set for the multidrug-resistant bacteria research.
“We will be able to launch the study next year. There has been quite some progress, too,” Park said.
The director also vowed to enhance the KNIH’s creative research.
According to Park, the KNIH selects two creative research projects every year. A single creative study receives about 200-300 million won funding. Such research project has a large risk of failure but if it succeeds, it can greatly promote the public health and national wealth, Park added.
“Without putting limitations in divisions and centers, we collect the eligible researchers for a creative study. We support a larger number of researchers for a creative study than those for other studies,” Park said.
Creative studies in progress at the KNIH include those on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis vaccines, severe thrombocytopenic syndrome, and Crohn’s disease treatment using worms.
“We’re conducting creative projects internally only. But if they show good progress, we are thinking about linking them with outside researchers,” Park said.
“But we are short-staffed in terms of specialists, even though we have enough research budget. Physicians are only four including me, out of 300 researchers.”
Park called for the medical community’s more active use of the KNIH.
Unlike colleges or companies with limitations in research, the KNIH does not have limitations, Park noted.
“We’re focusing on studies that are difficult to do and more likely to fail. But if they succeed, they will have a greater impact,” he said.
“I don’t intend to compete against colleges, institutions, or companies. I wish they could use us. We will actively support researchers through various means such as facilitating a post-doc system.”
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