SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called for consistent efforts to develop medicine and vaccines for the new coronavirus Thursday, voicing hopes that South Korea could take a lead in developing them.
Moon attended a joint meeting among industry, academia, research centers and hospital officials over ways to develop COVID-19 medicine and vaccines held at Institute Pasteur Korea in Seongnam, south of Seoul, according to his office.
"As South Korea's testing kits have become a global model, I hope we can develop medicine and vaccines that can save human lives," Moon said at the meeting.
Moon noted the development of drugs and vaccines is essential for the complete end to the coronavirus outbreak.
The president was earlier briefed by officials on the progress over a project to check whether existing drugs or medicine under development can be used as treatment for the new coronavirus.
The move is viewed as an effective option to develop the anti-COVID-19 medicine, given that developing a new drug takes a lot of time.
Institute Pasteur Korea has conducted tests on cells over some 2,500 medications in an effort to find potential drugs that could be effective in treating coronavirus patients. The science ministry provided emergency research funds to the institute for the project in February.
Moon also promised the government's full support for the private sector's efforts to develop medication and vaccines.
"It is difficult to produce achievement in a short period of time, only with efforts by the private sector. A lot of time and staggering costs are involved," Moon said.
As part of the government's support plans, Moon said it will inject 210 billion won (US$172 million) to support vaccine development projects and set up an institute that will research various novel viruses.
"The government will strengthen cooperation with the private sector to help it spur the development of medicine and vaccines," the president said.