SK Bioscience’s vaccine manufacturing plant in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province (SK Bioscience)
Health authorities started the last stage of testing for SK Bioscience’s coronavirus vaccine GBP510 this week, the National Institute of Health said Tuesday.
As a home-grown COVID-19 vaccine closest to becoming the country’s first vaccine to be authorized, GBP510 is currently in the third and last phase of its clinical trial.
“The last and most important step for the commercialization of the first Korea-made COVID-19 vaccine has begun,” said Kwon Jun-wook, director of the National Institute of Health.
“We will do our best to support it until the end through a solid public-private cooperation system.”
The test will evaluate the production rate of neutralizing antibodies that offset virus infection and induce preventive effects. Therefore, the more neutralizing antibodies are produced, the higher chances of counterbalancing the virus are secured with a stronger immune system.
An official from SK Bioscience told The Korea Herald that the drug maker is actively doing its part to achieve the goal of commercializing GBP510 within the first half of next year, adding that the process has undergone smooth sailing so far.
In order to increase the level of trust in the vaccine evaluation, the NIH signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Vaccine Institute in August to set the standards for testing COVID-19 vaccine’s neutralizing antibodies.
“Effectiveness evaluation using verified testing methods is an essential part of approval for the use of vaccines,” said Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute.
“The International Vaccine Institute will cooperate with the NIH so that the vaccine can be commercialized and used at home and abroad as soon as possible.”
Aside from SK Bioscience, a total of seven companies were in the process of undergoing early phase trials in developing their own COVID-19 vaccines as of Dec. 15, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.