The Korea Herald


S. Korea sets aside W170b for COVID-19 vaccine development next year

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : Sept. 4, 2020 - 15:52

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Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap) Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap)

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday it has assigned a budget of 170 billion won ($142.8 million) for 2021 to develop a homegrown vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

Designed to support local companies’ research and development of the COVID-19 vaccine, the government will inject 31.9 billion won into clinical trials of candidate materials for the drug and 7.4 billion won for non-human clinical trials, the ministry said. 

Also,131.4 billion won will be spent on a series of human trials to the test potential vaccine‘s effectiveness and safety.

The move came in line with the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine. As research teams in pharmaceutical companies and universities across the world are ramping up vaccine studies, South Korea allowed last month a local biotech firm Genexine Inc. to conduct a Phase 1 human trial of its experimental coronavirus treatment drug.

The government will also separately spend 200 billion won into research centers for infectious diseases in a bid to raise the nation’s anti-epidemic capabilities. 

Meanwhile, a total of 27.2 trillion won for aresearch and development budget scheme, which includes programs for COVID-19 responses, was set aside for next year to secure a growth engine for future, up 12.3 percent from this year’s budget. This double-digit increase keeps the uptrend for a second consecutive year, following an 18 percent rise this year. 

By Choi Jae-hee (