S. Korea aims to develop at least 1 mRNA vaccine by 2023

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea aims to develop at least one homegrown messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against the new coronavirus by 2023 as part of efforts to secure a stable supply of vaccines, government officials said Thursday.

The goal is part of the country's ambitious plan to become a global hub for the production of COVID-19 vaccines with a budget of 2.2 trillion won (US$1.92 billion) over the next five years, Yonhap reports.

Currently, there are two local companies -- Quratis Inc. and Eyegene Inc. -- that are developing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines with phase one clinical trials in preparation.

The government will support the drug firms to secure core technology behind mRNA vaccines as well as support clinical trials.

Compared to other platforms, mRNA vaccines are considered safer and more effective at preventing COVID-19, as it tells humans cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.

As part of the efforts, the government will inject 526.5 billion won into developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments next year.

The budget is subject to parliamentary endorsement.

The government will support phase three clinical trials of other kinds of COVID-19 vaccines next year.

SK Bioscience has begun the phase three clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, GBP510, globally. Commercialization is expected as early as the first half of next year.

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