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SNU responds to COVID-19

Jun 02, 2020

Since day one, preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus has been a grueling, uphill battle. In light of the pandemic, SNU has mobilized all its forces, with doctors, researchers, committee members and students all contributing to flattening the curve.

The first step to a cure starts with understanding the ailment. To this end, Professors Kim V. Narry and Chang Hyeshik, both of the Department of Biological Sciences, have completed a thorough analysis of the architecture of the transcriptome of the novel coronavirus, a step in unraveling the mystery behind what makes COVID-19 such a deadly killer. Through novel analytical techniques, the research team has shed light on how the coronavirus replicates in host cells, and identified the RNA sequences it generates in the infected cell environment. This landmark study provides scientists around the world with a blueprint for developing high-precision diagnostic kits and safe yet therapeutic vaccines.

Members of the SNU Hospital also work around the clock testing potentially infected individuals, treating confirmed patients, and researching a cure. The hospital recruited top talents from Mungyeong, Gyeongbuk province in establishing the first medical center devoted to treating patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms. These efforts were spearheaded by Dr. Oh Myoung Don, a specialist in infectious diseases, who is also chair of the Central Committee for Clinical Trials in Infectious Diseases. Simultaneously overseeing the treatment of hundreds of COVID-19 patients while keeping the nation informed on scientific progress that is being made in developing a cure for the virus, Dr. Oh has been a pivotal figure in allowing South Korea’s healthcare system to remain firm even under the weight of the pandemic. At present, the SNU Hospital is collaborating with the US National Institute of Health in conducting a global clinical trial.

Preparing for life after COVID-19

On May 20, SNU’s Committee for National Planning, chaired by Hong Joonhyung, held its first coronavirus forum, titled, “The Coronavirus Pandemic: Korea’s Response So Far and Tasks Ahead,” in hopes that sustained communication and research will help to prepare for life after the coronavirus. A panel consisting of doctors from the SNU Hospital and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluated the pros and cons of various measures implemented by the WHO, the Korean government and the Korean Center for Disease Control, in order to formulate strategies needed to pave the road for a safer tomorrow. The forum received particular attention as the country’s first open coronavirus forum, receiving attention from the media and members of the general public. Contents of the forum can be found on the SNU YouTube channel.

The latest updates regarding the university’s response to the coronavirus can be found at www.snu.ac.kr/coronavirus. Both English and Korean versions are updated almost daily. Future content will include interviews with and lectures by specialized personnel. Join us with your thoughts and opinions as we continue to strive towards creating a safer and healthier community.