Just don't expect it to take the lead anytime soon. If North Korea's State Commission of Science and Technology is to be believed, clinical trials for the country's domestic vaccine candidate are already underway -- and a debate is now happening about how to proceed with the third phase, which involves human testing. To the outside world, the claim could appear dubious.
The race to develop a vaccine for a disease that has infected nearly 14.5 million people and killed more than 605,000 globally is one of the most daunting and pressing technological and scientific challenges the world has faced in recent memory. It will likely cost huge sums of money, and nations are investing heavily to win what's shaping up to become a competition of scientific superiority and national pride.