1st clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine in S. Korea to kick off this month


A SEOUL-BASED international vaccine research institute said Thursday that it will start clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

The first and second phase clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, dubbed INO-4800, are expected to kick off here by the end of this month, according to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI).

The clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine will be the country’s first.

The trials will be conducted in cooperation with Seoul National University (SNU) Hospital by using DNA vaccine candidate developed by U.S. pharmaceutical firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc, the IVI said.

The trials are funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and supported by the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), it said.

“South Korea is one of the first countries in the world set to test a COVID-19 vaccine (after the US, China, UK, and Germany), and we are happy to collaborate with South Korean partners to accelerate clinical development of a COVID-19 vaccine through our partnership with INOVIO and CEPI.” said Dr. Jerome Kim, director general of IVI, in a press release.

Currently, three sets of research by research organizations are under way, and other local biotech firms have also joined the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, their research is at a relatively early stage, lagging far behind foreign rivals, according to experts.