North Korea claims of developing coronavirus vaccine

North Korean-based Pyongyang's science research council said Saturday (July 18) that its scientists are currently conducting clinical trials to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. 
July 18, 2020 | 16:44
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North Korea claims it is developing a coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Yonhap News

North Korea is developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus on its own, Yonhap News cited a source from Pyongyang's science research council on Saturday.

According to a report posted on Mirae, the website run by the North's State Commission of Science and Technology, its scientists are currently conducting clinical trials to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

The report said the vaccine development is led by a medical biology institute under the North's Academy of Medical Science using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

North Korea claimed it has confirmed the immunogenicity and safety of its candidate vaccine through animal tests and that clinical trials have started from this month.

The country, which is yet to report a single COVID-19 case, added that scientists are in discussions on conducting the third phase of the clinical study.

North Korea said the bioengineering branch of the State Academy of Sciences is also conducting research for the development of the novel coronavirus vaccine.

Experts here have, however, cast doubt on North Korea’s vaccine development considering its financial and medical situations.

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People wearing protective face masks walk amid concerns over the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in front of Pyongyang Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 27, 2020. Kyodo via Reuters

Early July, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hailed his country's "shining success" in dealing with Covid-19, according to state news agency KCNA, cited BBC.

Mr. Kim said the country had "prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation".

North Korea closed its borders and put thousands into isolation six months ago as the virus swept across the globe.

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State media said Kim warned against a hasty relaxing of restrictions. Photo: Getty Images via BBC
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