|Oral COVID-19 Vaccine (japantimes.co.jp)|
On October 29th, the Korean government announced that they were securing 270,000 doses of oral vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The United States pharmaceutical company, Merck, developed the oral vaccine called Molnupiravir, and the Korean government completed the contract with them for the supply of 200,000 doses. Along with the oral vaccine from Pfizer, the Korean government made a contract to pre-purchase an amount of 70,000 doses. This vaccine, which is ready now, will be introduced to COVID-19 patients of older ages or in serious states starting from the 1st quarter in 2022. Currently, several foreign pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Pfizer, and Roche are developing oral COVID-19 vaccines. Among them, Merck’s Molnupiravir is the most advanced in the development process, and this product is capable of mass production in the short term only if the company gets approval from authorities. Moreover, Merck’s Molnupiravir showed outstanding effects of lowering the rate of hospitalizations and death; since Merck’s product is currently very expensive, and COVID-19 is spreading again, domestic pharmaceutical companies can get high marketability if they become successful in developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine. On October 29th, Jeong Eun-kyeong, the Commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, announced that the Korean government would keep monitoring the progress state of the clinical trial in various countries and make the prepurchase contracts as soon as possible.
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