S. Korea eyes leading role in fighting infectious diseases with vaccine hub creation: Moon

SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in said Monday that South Korea aims to lead international efforts against COVID-19 and other new infectious diseases, reaffirming the country's goal of becoming an international vaccine production hub.

"As one of the global vaccine production hubs, we will spearhead the efforts to prepare for new infectious diseases that can hit us anytime in the future," Moon said in a prerecorded speech to celebrate the opening of the annual Global Bio Conference 2021.

This year's conference, organized by the Korea Medical Industry Association and hosted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, runs from Monday through Wednesday in Seoul.

Moon explained South Korea's goal to drastically ramp up vaccine production capacity by reiterating its plan to invest 2.2 trillion won (US$1.87 billion) in the field in the next five years to "more actively contribute to the global recovery from the pandemic."

The president also underscored the role South Korea plays in today's global fight against COVID-19, explaining how the country was "doing its share" in ramping up the vaccine supply by contract manufacturing four different types of vaccines.

Touting today's biomedical industry as being fueled by cooperation and innovation, Moon predicted that the field "will take off to another higher level" by expanding the scope of cooperation to new industries, such as artificial intelligence and big data.

Last month, Moon stated that South Korea aims to become the world's fifth-largest vaccine-producing nation in the next four years. He also unveiled a plan to designate vaccine development as one of the nation's three strategic technology areas, along with semiconductors and batteries.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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