Taiwan, EU discuss joint efforts to fight COVID-19

Filip Grzegorzewski (right), head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan (Image taken from twitter.com/grzegorzewskif)/CNA

TAIPEI (CNA) — Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institute, said Wednesday that it hosted a video conference with European Union (EU) officials that day to discuss possible collaborative efforts to fight COVID-19.

During the video conference, researchers at Academia Sinica shared with EU health officials Taiwan’s current research progress in developing a rapid diagnostic test and a vaccine for COVID-19, the research institute said in a Facebook post.

The two sides also discussed how they could collaborate to further develop these products and how they could be used in the EU, according to the post.

“The EU commended Taiwan’s progress in epidemic prevention so far, and will work with Academia Sinica to develop a rapid diagnostic test and a vaccine,” the institute said.

The video conference was attended by Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智), several researchers at Academia Sinica and Filip Grzegorzewski, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan, the institute said.

The European side comprised officials from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Department and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the institute said.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Thursday that Taiwan and the United States each have their own strengths, which is why through collaboration, the two countries can develop vaccines and medication at a faster pace.

Tsai was referring to a partnership between the U.S. and Taiwan announced a day prior, under which the two sides will cooperate in efforts to combat COVID-19.

These include the research and development of rapid tests, the research and production of vaccines and medicines, as well as the cooperation and exchange of medical supplies and equipment.

According to Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the U.S. has already reserved raw materials for 300,000 medical protective suits for Taiwan, while Taiwan will provide 100,000 medical face masks per week to the U.S. when its production capacity has stabilized.

“Our partnership is comprehensive,” Tsai told reporters.

Also on Thursday, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), an epidemiologist by profession, said that in the past two months, experts from Stanford University, John Hopkins University, Harvard University, The University of Tokyo and many more have asked him about Taiwan’s epidemic prevention measures.

The measures implemented by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) have been commended and used as a role model in many other countries, Chen said.