Ministry of Health and Welfare and WHO hold ‘2023 World Bio Summit’
“Korea’s response to COVID-19 is the best in the world… Lessons learned”
“Korea will fulfill its duties as a leader”
In order to prepare for a new infectious disease pandemic (pandemic) situation, a global joint response system is needed, and in this process, voices were raised that Korea’s role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic relatively stably is important.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the World Health Organization (WHO) held the ‘World Bio Summit 2023’ on the afternoon of the 20th at the Conrad Hotel in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul with the theme of ‘Strengthening pandemic response capabilities: Preparation of human resources, businesses, and civil society’. It was held.
WHO Deputy Director-General Catherine Bohem, who gave a keynote speech at the event, said, “Climate change is occurring and the risk of a pandemic is increasing as the number of refugees increases. In this situation, we want to build hope through collective efforts.”
“Korea has been among the world’s best in responding to COVID-19, and many countries have learned from Korea’s example,” said Deputy Secretary-General Bohem. was established in Korea.”
At the same time, Deputy Secretary-General Bohem said, “Korea will play an important role in the production of vaccines and treatments in the region.”
Director Ji Young-mi of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency explained the role and future plans of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency in the COVID-19 response process. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has been controlling the spread of COVID-19 through strategies such as tracking, isolation, and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is also studying the aftereffects of COVID-19 through big data collection and analysis.
Commissioner Ji said, “Before a new pandemic occurs, we plan to have a system in place to make vaccines and treatments in advance from specific pathogens that can spread the most quickly.” He added, “So no matter which pathogen an epidemic occurs, we will create vaccines and treatments.” . “This also includes mRNA technology,” he said.
Commissioner Ji also introduced, “To build capacity, we plan to establish overseas research hubs in Asia and Africa and at the same time open and operate an additional global infectious disease impact research center.”
Commissioner Ji said, “The lesson we have learned from COVID-19 is that building a resilient medical system and cooperation are important,” and added, “The Korean government will play a leading role and fulfill its obligations internationally.”
Willow Brook, Vice President of the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostic Devices (FIND), commented on Korea’s diagnostic device technology capabilities and said, “We need to think about how we can easily identify rapidly spreading pathogens, and how (diagnostic device) innovation can spread to primary care around the world.” “It is very important to share experiences and network, and we will be able to utilize Korea’s knowledge and know-how,” he said.
Jane Holton, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Infectious Disease Innovations (CEPI), said, “It takes a lot of effort to avoid experiencing the pandemic we just saw again, but the cycle of panic and neglect is also a reality we are witnessing.” “We have the capacity to respond equitably and effectively, and Korea’s commitment will give us much to improve in preparing for the pandemic.”
Minister of Health and Welfare Cho Gyu-hong said in his opening speech, “Now that we have overcome the fear of the pandemic, this must be the starting point for preparations for the next pandemic. “If we share and continue the experience of the past three years, it will become an asset that humanity can use when we face difficulties again in the future,” he said. “The Republic of Korea will actively contribute to building a global cooperation system centered on the Asia-Pacific region.”
The ‘World Bio Summit’ is an annual international event where Korea invites leaders in the bio field from countries, companies, and international organizations from around the world to discuss international cooperation measures. It is now in its second year, following last year.
At this summit, which will be held until the 21st, discussions will continue on improving regulations to strengthen pandemic response capabilities and promoting development and production of treatments, diagnostic devices, and vaccines.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.