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Moon, CEPI CEO discuss Korea’s vision for global vaccine production hub

President Moon Jae-in greets Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. (Cheong Wa Dae) 
President Moon Jae-in greets Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. (Cheong Wa Dae) 
President Moon Jae-in and Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, held a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday and exchanged views on South Korea’s pandemic preparedness and its vision for a global vaccine production hub.

Moon applauded CEPI’s leadership role in facilitating investment into vaccine development and manufacturing against COVID-19, which he said greatly helped in saving people’s lives around the world.

“Since joining CEPI last year, Korea is also ramping up efforts to increase vaccine production,” Moon said. “Developing our own vaccine is our national goal. Thank you again for CEPI’s support for the drive so far.”

Oslo-based CEPI was launched in 2017 with an aim to finance independent research projects developing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it has focused more resources into COVID-19 vaccines.

The coalition gets funding from governments and organizations like the Bill & Melida Gates Foundation. The Korean government has invested in related research work through the coalition since last year.

Korean pharmaceutical company SK Bioscience is currently conducting phase-3 trials of its own COVID-19 vaccine as part of a vaccine partnership project between the Korean government and the CEPI.

During the meeting, Moon pinned high hopes on the ongoing studies of the vaccine candidate that is highly likely to become the nation’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine debuting early next year.

In response, the CEPI CEO expressed gratitude for the Korean government’s contribution to COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing platform that is co-led by CEPI, the WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Korea has pledged a total of $200 million of funding to COVAX by the end of next year.

He also praised Korea for setting a global standard in terms of pandemic preparedness, citing the nation’s much lower fatality rate compared to other developed countries.

Tuesday’s meeting was also attended by Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol and SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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