S. Korean regulators start review on AstraZeneca vaccine for quick use in February

By Lim Chang-won Posted : January 4, 2021, 16:03 Updated : February 26, 2021, 14:28

[Courtesy of SK Bioscience]

SEOUL -- State regulators have launched a process to approve the use of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC, a Swedish-British pharmaceutical company, and its South Korean consignment production partner. The examination will be completed within 40 days to start vaccination in February.

AstraZeneca has applied for permission to sell its vaccine which was produced by its South Korean partner, SK Bioscience, and abroad, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said, adding that South Korea would follow British rules to administer second doses four to 12 weeks after initial inoculation.

"We aim to complete our process within 40 days," Kim Sang-bong, who heads the ministry's biopharmaceutical bureau, told a press briefing on January 4. He said AstraZeneca's headquarters would analyze the quality equivalence of undiluted vaccine solution and finished products from SK Bioscience, which is also involved in South Korea's state project to develop COVID-19 vaccines.

U.S. biotech company Moderna has agreed to supply vaccine doses for 20 million people to South Korea. Moderna said it would begin delivering its vaccine to South Korea in May.
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