JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – A Covid-19 vaccine produced in China has been delivered to Indonesia for its phase III clinical trials.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitated the process of bringing in the Covid-19 vaccine produced by China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a government official said on Monday, July 20.
Clinical trials will soon begin in cooperation with Indonesian vaccine manufacturer PT Bio Farma.
“Yes, [the vaccine from China] has arrived on Sunday [July 19] and has already been handed over to PT Bio Farma for clinical trials,” said acting spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Teuku Faizasyah.
The ministry, Faizasyah said, only facilitated the process of bringing in the vaccine from China. To develop the vaccine, he added, Indonesia has already established contact with China under international cooperation.
"The short-term strategy is to ensure [we get] access to the vaccine after it’s ready and this is done through international cooperation," said Faizasyah.
Indonesia also formed a national consortium as a medium and long-term plan to develop the Covid-19 vaccine on its own.
Previously, PT Bio Farma President Director Honesti Basyir said the company collaborated with Sinovac during the phase I and phase II clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine in June. Phase III clinical trials will soon be conducted in various countries, including Indonesia.
“The Covid-19 vaccine production technology will be transferred from Sinovac to Bio Farma during the phase III clinical trials,” Honesti said in a press conference broadcast on Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel on Thursday, July 16.
Honesti said Bio Farma will collaborate with Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java, and the Ministry of Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) to prepare for the phase III clinical trials. His office will also work closely with the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM). If approved, the vaccine can later be used for emergencies starting in the first quarter of 2021.
Honesti explained the reason why Sinovac was chosen in this cooperation is because of its credibility in producing many vaccines for more than 30 countries. One of its vaccines that had been recognized by the World Health Organization was the Hepatitis A vaccine.
The previous clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine found no severe side effects and produced an immune response in 743 volunteers.
“The pre-clinical studies, phase I, and phase II clinical trials have been completed. Sinovac is currently preparing phase III clinical trials at many research centers in the world,” Honesti said.
Besides, Bio Farma also develops local vaccines under a national consortium established by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN). The national consortium comprises the Eijkman Institute, relevant ministries and institutions, and universities. However, Honesti estimated that the local vaccine will only be available in the early or the middle of 2022.
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