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Jakarta Post

Indonesian government initiates research to produce COVID-19 vaccine, VP says

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 19, 2020   /   06:01 pm
Indonesian government initiates research to produce COVID-19 vaccine, VP says Vice President Ma'ruf Amin (left) speakis to journalists at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta on Nov. 8, 2019. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

The government has initiated research to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), involving the collaboration of relevant ministries and institutions, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has said.

“We’ve started discussing [the research], because [the virus] has become a threat. We keep trying to develop our own vaccine for every threat that emerges. That’s why we’ve initiated research,” Ma’ruf said in a statement on Thursday as quoted by Antara.

The research on the vaccine was carried out under the coordination of the National Research Agency (BRIN) in cooperation with the Health Ministry and other relevant state-owned enterprises, including pharmaceutical firms, he said.

The public should not expect a vaccine to be available anytime soon, however, as the research would take a considerable amount of time to complete, Ma’ruf said.

Read also: Doctors map body's COVID-19 immune response: Study

In the meantime, the government would keep implementing public health protocols as established by the World Health Organization (WHO), he added.

“The production of a vaccine takes time. That’s why we will not just wait for the vaccine to be completed but also take measures in accordance with WHO’s protocols in mitigating this pandemic,” Ma’ruf said.

Meanwhile, Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java has prepared a research proposal for the production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Airlangga University rector Mohammad Nasih said the university’s Institute of Tropical Diseases had acquired six COVID-19-positive samples and was awaiting research authorization from the Health Ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes).

“It’s going to be a lengthy process but we are optimistic that with Balitbangkes’ authorization we’ll be able to develop a vaccine,” Mohammad said.

Read also: Germany says virus vaccine research not for sale

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously instructed his subordinates to perform rapid tests for COVID-19 across the country in a bid to accelerate detection of the disease.

Rapid tests are easier to perform than regular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and can detect COVID-19 cases quicker.

Indonesia's death toll from the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 has risen to 25 on Thursday, as the government announced that the number of infected people had reached 309. (rfa)