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Taiwan sets up 'national team' focusing on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research

CNA Photo: Researchers from NHRI

 The government-sponsored National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has formed a “national team” that primarily works on the development of vaccines and treatments in effort to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.


In a news briefing on Friday  (April 24), Sytwu Huey-kang, vice president of NHRI and a key figure in Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said that the task force was established a month ago where many companies applied to join the group.

According to Sytwu, a major role of the platform is to incorporate P3 laboratories across the country which are now defined as biosafety level 3 facilities, including institutes affiliated with NHRI, Academia Sinica, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, and National Cheng Kung University. These laboratories can carry out experiments with microbes that cause lethal disease via inhalation.

 Database for biological samples used for COVID-19 related research was also put into placed by the task force. As of the moment, the database that primarily collects blood samples, has now 74 samples available.

Sytwu added that the national team is currently reviewing a total of 20 projects ranging from testing to cure research and vaccine development. After assessment, the project will be designated with needed resources to ensure effective networking for promising products to be made available for commercial use.
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