A scientist works inside the research room for the Merah Putih vaccine candidate at state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma’s office in Bandung, West Java (Photo: Antara)
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on September 1 Widodo said a joint venture of domestic companies were tasked with developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine, with 30-40 percent of this process had been completed.
He expressed the hope that clinical trials could be started as early as 2021 before commercial production begins mid-next year.
The vaccine named “Merah Putih” is being developed by a joint venture under the Ministry of Research and Technology led by the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology.
Previously, Director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology Amin Soebandrio said the vaccine is expected to meet at least 50 percent of the country’s vaccination demand.
In addition to self-developing the anti-viral vaccine, Indonesia has also ordered 290 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine during recent visits by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir to China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These vaccines will be delivered to Indonesia before the end of 2021.
China’s biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech – one of Indonesia’s two COVID-19 vaccine suppliers – has worked closely with the Southeast Asian country to help develop its own vaccine./.
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