Potential Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Indonesia for clinical trial

(Jakarta Post) – A potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech arrived in Indonesia on Sunday (July 19).

Foreign Ministry acting spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said that the potential vaccine had been delivered to state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma for a clinical trial.

“The vaccine material arrived on Sunday. It has been delivered to Bio Farma,” Faizasyah said on Monday as quoted from kompas.com

He said the Foreign Ministry only facilitated the distribution from China to Indonesia and Bio Farma had collaborated with Sinovac Biotech to allow a transfer of technology and vaccine material between the two companies.

“Our short-term strategy is to ensure access to a [Covid-19] vaccine as soon as it is ready for mass production through international cooperation,” he said.

“Indonesia has also set up a national consortium as a long-term strategy to ensure we can produce a vaccine independently,” he added.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Bio Farma president director Honesti Basyir said the company was ready to launch a Phase 3 clinical trial for the vaccine in Indonesia before authorities authorize its widespread usage.

The trial is set to commence soon in cooperation with Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java, as well as the Health Ministry’s research and development agency.

“It is anticipated that the preliminary result of this Phase 3 clinical trial can be submitted for emergency use authorization by the BPOM [Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency] by the first quarter of 2021, ” Honesti said.

He added that the vaccine materials sent from China would be formulated in Bio Farma’s facilities. The Phase 3 trial in Indonesia will involve nearly 1,600 volunteers and be funded by Bio Farma.

“It is evidence that Sinovac has implemented a robust quality-management system,” he said, praising the company for being among the first companies to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential vaccine in more than 30 countries outside China such as Brazil and Bangladesh.