A clinical trial of a vaccine against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to begin in Korea in April, the health authorities said Monday.
Kwon Joon-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said Korea could participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, led by a foreign developer.
“The discussion is already going on. Korea will have an opportunity to join a clinical trial by a prominent foreign developer,” Kwon said at a regular briefing. “If the discussion becomes official, we will announce it.”
After negotiations, the KCDC will disclose details about institutions participating in the study and which institution is leading the research, he said. “We expect that the trial will begin in April.”
Kwon noted that the vaccine trial would be “a long journey.”
Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, there will be many more challenges such as mass production, inoculation of the vaccine, and monitoring of side effects, he noted.
As for treatments against COVID-19, Kwon anticipated that leading companies could disclose research progresses on antibody-based therapies, besides the plasma treatment.
The KCDC will invest in R&D for treatments and vaccines, improve assessment procedures of the institutional ethics committee, consider supporting research based on the national health insurance system, and help connect between clinical trials and patient care, Kwon went on to say.
As the nation needs to maintain researchers in treatment and vaccine development so that they can play their roles in the case of an outbreak of another unknown disease or the recurrence of the COVID-19 epidemic, the health authorities regard investment in the human resources “very important,” he added.
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>