Now for more on the treatment and prevention efforts here on the local front I have our Kim Dami here in the studio.
Dami welcome.

Good afternoon, Sunhee.

Let’s start with Celltrion’s announcement on its antibody treatment.

Right Sunhee. Korea is one step closer to rolling out its first homegrown COVID-19 treatment.
Korean drugmaker Celltrion on Wednesday announced the first batch of results from its phase two clinical trial for that treatment.
Results showed it could reduce recovery time and lowered the chance of severe illnesses by 54 percent.
For moderately-ill patients in their 50s, there was 68 percent reduction.
Tests also showed that recovery time is three days faster than the placebo and for those aged 50 or over with moderate symptoms, it’s five to six days faster.
There has also been no serous adverse drug reaction among the patients who took part in the clinical trials.
Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is reviewing its safety and efficacy, which is a key hurdle the drug must overcome, before it can be mass-produced and widely distributed.
Celltrion also plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization with the U.S. FDA and for Conditional Marketing Authorization to the European Medicines Agency in the coming months.

Now we touched upon this yesterday as well.
THOSE aged between 19 and 49 may be INOCULATED starting mid-summer?

Right, as previously announced, those in that age bracket are to be the last people to get vaccinated here in the country.
But, local health authorities announced on Wednesday inoculations for those people can proceed as early as the third quarter of the year.
So, that means even if they are not frontline healthcare workers or severely ill, they can be vaccinated by July at the earliest.
Around 32 million to 36 million have been included in various priority groups.
These include medical personnel, those who work at long-term care facilities, elderly citizens over the age of than 50, and people with chronic illnesses.
Patients with chronic conditions include those with cardiovascular, lung, liver, or kidney disease, or cancer, or those who have taken immunosuppressive drugs for a long period.
Children and teenagers have been excluded from the priority groups as some of the vaccines have not been approved for those under 16 or 18.
The roll-out will start around the end of next month with AstraZeneca’s vaccines.
AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines are expected to be given at medical facilities while Pfizer and Moderna will need new inoculation centers.

( 14 ) EDITED
“There will be two routes of inoculation as the preservation and distribution differs depending on the type of the vaccine.”

Experts say that preparing the extreme low temperature cold chain distribution channel for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and educating medical personnel on their management will be a new challenge.

Meanwhile I hear authorities are looking to SECURE MORE VACCINES?

Korea is close to signing a deal with Novavax to purchase additional vaccines for 10 million people.
Once the deal is inked, Novavax vaccines could be available by the second quarter of this year at the earliest.
This vaccine will effectively supplement those from four other manufacturers, as it has a long shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
Other vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen can only be stored for less than 6 months.
The Novavax deal would give Korea enough vaccines for 66 million people.
The country’s COVID-19 vaccination plan will be announced within this month.

(KOREAN – )
“The government has signed deals for 56 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, which is enough to achieve herd immunity. We are doing our best to start the vaccinations next month.”

Before you go Dami do give us an update on the financial support being extended to small business owners here in the country.

Right, the third round of COVID-19 disaster relief funds have been handed out to small businesses and people starting Monday.
On the first day, more than 670-thousand people applied within the first six hours, and some even received their payments by the afternoon.
In fact, the country’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Wednesday that over two million people have received almost three billion U.S. dollars in the first two days.
For the hardest hit businesses, the payment will be around 28-hundred U.S. dollars.

Thanks for joining us today.

My pleasure.

Reporter : damikim@arirang.com

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