President Moon Jae-in and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates have agreed to step up their cooperation toward developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
Seoul's top office said that the two talked on the phone for 25 minutes on Friday, at the request of Gates who is also the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charitable organization, and has also been helping the international community in the fight against the pandemic.
"President Moon and Bill Gates agreed to expand cooperation to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, while maintaining close communication as important partners in responding to the coronavirus."
Moon also thanked the Gates foundation for providing support to the International Vaccine Institute an international body for vaccine R&D based in Seoul.
It has also invested in Right Fund, a non-governmental agency, alongside South Korea's health ministry and local biopharmaceutical firms to help developing countries.
Moon expressed hope for continued cooperation with the Gates foundation to provide a helping hand to countries that are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
"President Moon said he believes that efforts to develop treatments are as important as developing vaccines, and said that South Korea is making efforts to develop treatments by providing strong support for various research institutions and pharmaceutical companies."
Gates agreed, on the importance of treatments, saying that it will help reduce the number of deaths as well as ease the burden on medical staff.
He also said South Korea's response system has become a model for the world and praised the government for supplying virus testing kits to developing countries.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.