||'Korea emerging as a global hub in infectious disease research'
Director John Clemens of IVI begins second term of office
The Korea Economic Daily, July 5, 2004
"I would like to deliver my sincere gratitude to the Korean people for their warm-hearted love. They are providing unsparing support for the world's children and impoverished people," said John D. Clemens.
Dr Clemens, 55, who was reappointed as the Director of the International Vaccine Institute on July 2, thanked the Korean people in comments he made on the renewal of his appointment as the head of the IVI, the only international organization headquartered in Korea.
The IVI is a non-profit international organization that was established as an initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the development and introduction of new vaccines for developing countries. It is conducting research in 12 countries.
Korea became the host country of the IVI through fierce competition with several countries in 1994. Dr Clemens has been leading the Institute since his appointment as the IVI's first director in early 1999.
"We will start research to develop vaccines based on the infrastructure we have built up so far at the IVI headquarters in Korea," Dr. Clemens said. "We completed the headquarters building with the support from the Korean government last year. Recently, we opened laboratories to carry out laboratory research on typhoid fever and shigellosis in the headquarters."
Dr Clemens said, "We will broaden the diseases we are researching to cover tuberculosis and respiratory viruses." He went on to say that "We will also expand the geographic scope of our activities to sub-Saharan Africa. We have just started new research projects on cholera and Japanese encephalitis in Mozambique and Cambodia."
Dr Clemens is also determined to push for projects to support North Korea. "We requested the WHO to open a channel of communication with North Korea for the IVI, and discussion is going on in this regard," he said, adding that "I expect to get tangible results shortly."
Dr. Clemens also plans to continue to urge countries around the world to join in efforts for vaccine research. "In the beginning, the IVI had only two supporters, including Korea and the UNDP. But the number of our sponsors has increased and they now include the governments of Australia, Sweden, and Japan, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and GSK, LG Life Sciences, and CJ Corps."