The government said Thursday it would spend 215.1 billion won ($174.1 million) in the next decade to support domestic research on vaccines against infectious diseases.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it selected the Yonsei University-Industry Foundation to lead the project group for developing technologies to commercialize vaccines.
The ministry and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) jointly designed the project in 2018 to spend 215.1 billion won for 10 years from July to fight infectious diseases.
The project will focus on R&D activities, ranging from discovering drug candidates to clinical trials to overcome infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
Amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in particular, the project group will actively help researchers develop a COVID-19 vaccine, the government said.
The government will also support studies on the production processes and manufacturing of clinical trial samples so that such work can lead to the development and production of vaccines, the ministry said.
Seong Baik-lin, a professor at Yonsei University, was appointed as the first head of the project group. He once worked to enhance R&D activities for the interagency infectious disease response under the KCDC and the national project for vaccine commercialization technology support under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
The health and welfare ministry and the KCDC said they planned to complete the formation of the project group for local vaccine research before July.
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