S. Korea joins CEPI to support vaccine research

South Korea joined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative (CEPI) and pledged to donate US$3 million this year to help develop vaccines for COVID-19 and other emerging epidemics, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The CEPI is a global partnership joined by public, private and civil society organisations to fund research projects to develop vaccines for emerging diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and COVID-19, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korean Ambassador to Norway Nam Young-sook attended a virtual signing ceremony Tuesday (local time) to join the coalition with Richard Hatchett, chief executive of the Oslo-based organization, the ministry said in a press release.

The country plans to donate an additional $6 million over the next two years, the ministry said.

South Korea has been participating in several vaccine alliances, such as Gavi and Unitaid, with the cumulative contribution to these partnerships reaching US$21 million, according to the ministry.