South Korea said that it will invest KRW 100 billion in developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 to focus mainly on supporting research for treatments using plasma, antibodies and finding efficacy in existing drugs, reported The Korea Bizwire.
"The government and private companies both will cooperate to secure homegrown treatments during this year and homegrown vaccines by next year," commented Health Minister Park Neung-hoo.
First, the government is aiming to develop local plasma treatment for COVID-19 within this year, according to officials. It plans to develop an antiviral antibody treatment by next year, with the aim of conducting human clinical trials by the latter half of this year.
Major local pharmaceutical firms, including Celltrion, as well as research organizations, are in the process of conducting clinical trials on animals.
As part of efforts to find efficacy in existing drugs, the government said it is currently reviewing the antiviral efficacy of nafamostat, an authorized pancreatitis treatment.
The ministry earlier approved a clinical trial to evaluate nafamostat as it may block TMPRSS2, a human cell surface serine protease used by COVID-19 to infiltrate human cells.
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