Join Our Newsletter - Get important industry news and analysis sent to your inbox – sign up to our e-Newsletter here

Managing the Covid-19 outbreak: Lessons learnt from South Korea

30 Mar 2020 (Last Updated March 30th, 2020 11:26)

Due to its geographic proximity with China, South Korea was one of the first locations hit with the Covid-19 viral infections.

Sponsored by Novotech Sponsored by Visit Company
Managing the Covid-19 outbreak: Lessons learnt from South Korea
A series of clinical trials with hospitalized Covid-19 patients have been conducted in China using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19. Credit: Shutterstock.

Due to its geographic proximity with China, South Korea was one of the first locations hit with the Covid-19 viral infections.

But the country has handled the epidemic with one of the world’s most efficient and rapid responses; reducing the virus spread without having to adopt a national lockdown approach.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Korea’s testing measures have materially helped in reducing the spread of the virus. The country has tested more people than any other, with over 315,000 tests administered within a month.

South Korea also shown high levels of transparency, mirroring how the government handled the 2015 outbreak of MERS which killed 36. Text messages were sent to people alerting them of new cases in the same city or district, helping to increase the adoption of social distancing measures.

Universal healthcare

The population in South Korea enjoys high-quality universal healthcare coverage that has been rated as one of the most efficient in the world. Covid-19 test were made available free of charge for patients that were showing suspected symptoms.

According to WHO, South Korea also has one of the highest densities of hospital beds (115 per 10,000 people). This is four times higher than in the United States.

Additionally, the country hosts some of the largest hospitals in the world which are also highly active in clinical trials. The Seoul National University Hospital, the Asan Medical Centre, Yonsei University Severance Hospital, and the Samsung Medical Centre have each participated in hundreds of clinical studies.

What’s more, South Korea also has a high number of knowledgeable investigators and experts in the healthcare field. In 2018, the country was ranked 11th in the number of citable medical publications according to Scimago Journal, while the number of citable medical documents originating from South Korea grew by +66% between 2010 and 2018.

According to GlobalData, the clinical activity of biotechnology companies in South Korea is estimated to have increased by over 20% last year alone.

About Novotech

This report was compiled by Novotech, a leading Asia-Pacific contract resource organisation (CRO) with offices around the world.

Novotech provides high-quality CRO services through a flexible approach that suits the needs of small and medium biotechnology companies. To learn more or to talk to their experts about your clinical trial, visit

Free Whitepaper

The Trends and Future Trajectory of Biotech Clinical Trials

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of clinical trials with innumerable vaccines and therapies racing through trials for market or emergency use approval. Looking forward, these changes are projected to accelerate further with innovation shifting from big pharma to biotechs, leading to a greater need for R&D outsourcing.

Data analyst and business intelligence firm GlobalData has partnered with Novotech, the Asia-Pacific CRO, to compile a white paper that explores some of the trends seen in the past year and outline forecasts for what’s next in the industry. With Asia-Pacific expected to have 24% of the global CRO market by 2024, this white paper also explains why the regions is ideal for outsourcing clinical R&D and how drug development plans help biotechs.

By clicking the “Submit” button above, you accept and acknowledge that your data will be used as described in the Novotech (Australia) Pty Limited Privacy Policy.

We will also collect and use the information you provide for carefully considered and specific purposes, where we believe we have a legitimate interest in doing so, for example to send you communications about similar products and services we offer. We will always give you an option to opt out of any future communications from us. You can find out more about our legitimate interest activity in our privacy policy here. ‘We’ includes Verdict Media Limited and other GlobalData brands as detailed here.