On September 18, the SNU College of Medicine COVID-19 Science Committee hosted, under the leadership of Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and world-renowned expert in HIV vaccine research Jerome Kim, the online seminar titled, “COVID-19 Vaccines: Where Are We?” where the current state of global research for vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus was raised. The recent online seminar was the fourth of a series devoted to the Committee’s pandemic preparedness research.
In particular, the seminar covered the clinical dimension of the research, including the evaluation of vaccine candidates and their respective processes of establishing herd-immunity, and the epidemiological dimension of the research, including the development of systematic procedures to ensure equitable distribution and access in the process of mass vaccination. Kim explained that the vaccine candidates have demonstrated acceptable safety profiles and promising responses, and hopes that the late stage trials will prove to be safe and efficacious. “It is of paramount importance that mechanisms are put in place to ensure rapid roll-out, fair distribution and equitable access globally,” Kim said, adding that South Korea should prepare itself for mass production, ensuring that there will be ample supply and access.
The first online seminar of this series took place on July 3 under the title, “Pandemics and Civilization,” where visiting speaker and President of the Seoul Forum for International Affairs (SFIA) Myung Ja Kim noted that, “thorough cooperation with the international community, including economic collaboration during the pandemic and the prevention of environmental degradation, is critical for the establishment of a new order in the post-COVID-19 era.” She also added that in order to alleviate the repeating cycle of pandemics in the future and ensure a greater degree of sustainable development, “more thorough scientific analysis of and policy control over the factors involved in the spread of such infectious diseases must be executed.”
In the second seminar, which took place on July 17 under the title, “Can COVID-19 Reinfection Occur?” national experts, including Dean and Vice Dean of the University of Tokyo School of Medicine Nobuhito Saito and Masaomi Nangaku and Dean of the National University of Singapore School of Public Health Yik Ying Teo, came together to discuss recent findings, which showed that a second infection was “not impossible” due to the lack of sufficient immunological memory left behind to protect from reinfection. And in the third seminar, which took place on August 7 under the title, “Taiwan’s Victory Against COVID-19,” former Vice President of Taiwan and epidemiologist Chien Jen Chen presented the four strategies that secured the relatively successful response of the Taiwanese government to the pandemic thus far: “an overall prudent attitude, prompt actions in responding to different situations, forward planning before a crisis and, most importantly, transparency on all counts.”
Written by Jeeye Hong, SNU English Editor, email@example.com
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, firstname.lastname@example.org