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Shown above are anti-COVID-19 vaccines developed by South Korea’s SK Bioscience. The company has applied for the emergency use of the product, named SKYCovione, to the WHO. Photo courtesy of SK Bioscience

SKYCovione of SK Bioscience will be provided across the world this year

South Korean biotechnology company SK Bioscience announced on Sept. 8 that it had asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch emergency use listing (EUL) procedures on its vaccine against COVID-19.

After gaining the EUL, SK Bioscience hopes to join the COVAX facility, which means that the company’s vaccines, dubbed SKYCovione, will be pooled for global procurement and distribution.

WHO is scheduled to assess the quality, safety, and efficacy of the SK Bioscience vaccine as a prerequisite for the COVAX vaccine supply. The decision is expected to come later this year.

As of the end of last month, a total of 11 vaccines obtained the EUL, including those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

SK Bioscience said that its vaccine would be suitable for use in low-income countries without ultra-cold chain facilities because it can be stored in normal refrigeration conditions from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Brief for COVID-19 vaccines global access, the COVAX facility is geared toward equitable access to novel coronavirus vaccines. The WHO headed the initiative along with UNICEF.

“SKYCovione is finally ready for global use. After getting approvals from international agencies and countries, the vaccine would help the world deal with COVID-19,” SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong said.

SKYCovione is a self-assembled nanoparticle vaccine, which targets the receptor binding domain of the COVID-19 spike protein. Its development has been funded by such organizations as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Its third-phase clinical test with 4,037 adults showed that the vaccine was effective against the coronavirus and its variants, according to SK Bioscience.

Based on the test, the Seoul-based company started shipping its vaccines for domestic use under the agreement with the Korean government.

SK Bioscience signed an advance purchase agreement with the Korean government for 10 million doses of SKYCovione.

Back then, SK Bioscience CEO Ahn said that the shipment of the firm’s vaccine was a notable exploit of the country’s biopharmaceutical industry.

“We, as a global innovative partner of vaccine and biotech, will not stop at today´s achievements but continuously work with various global initiatives to preemptively respond to new pandemics,” he said.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.