2021-06-18| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

South Korea Seeks Global Partners for Upping COVID-19 Vaccine Production

by Kathy Huang
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After the cooperation between Samsung Biologics and Moderna on mRNA vaccine manufacturing, South Korea continues to march forward with the global mRNA vaccine business. 

On June 15th, President Moon Jae-in held a video conference with the CEO of CureVac, Franz-Werner Haas, to request a vaccine partnership.


CureVac’s COVID-19 Vaccine Flops

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 and Pfizer-BioNTech’s BNT162b2 are the only two mRNA vaccines approved by FDA. In addition to that, German company CureVac had proposed a third mRNA vaccine candidate, CVnCoV. Yet, the results of the late-stage clinical trial have turned out to be disappointing.

On June 16th, CureVac announced that the efficacy of CVnCoV was just 47%. The result might be among the lowest efficacy of other COVID-19 vaccines so far. The trial had recruited about 40,000 volunteers in Latin America and Europe. However, according to the CEO of CureVac, the final analysis for new COVID-19 cases will continue in the following weeks, probably changing the overall vaccine efficacy positively.


Novavax – A Potential Partner for Korea

On the other hand, Novavax has struck gold. On June 14th, the Maryland-based vaccine maker announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, was more than 90% effective, and its vaccine will be produced by Korea’s SK Bioscience. Novavax has also agreed to deliver 40 million doses of vaccine to South Korea. 

South Korea is tackling a new outbreak of domestic cases, with the infected cases bouncing back to over 500 this week. So far, South Korea has administered at least 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and almost 25% of its population has received at least one dose.

Related Article: Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19: AstraZeneca and Regeneron’s Therapies Endure Contrasting Fortunes


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