The Jakarta Post
State-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma is set to finish the production of 100,000 real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) coronavirus test kits by the end of May.
Bio Farma’s marketing, research and development director Sri Harsi Teteki said the kits would be donated to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), which would distribute them to laboratories in 45 locations.
“The products are the downstream [outcome] of collaborative and innovative research. On May 5, we obtained a distribution permit from the Health Ministry,” Harsi said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The production started after the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) appointed homegrown genomics technology company Nusantics the maker of test kit prototypes in late March. The BPPT, Nusantics and Bio Farma are part of the COVID-19 task force for research and technological innovation (TFRIC19).
A month later, venture capital firm East Ventures, which was tasked with crowdfunding, announced that it had reached the donation target of Rp 10 billion (US$678,656) from more than 2,000 individuals and corporations.
On Saturday last week, TFRIC19 finished producing the first 50,000 test kits and is now completing the other 50,000. To date, 16 laboratories have received donations under recommendations from the BNPB and the Health Ministry.
Harsi said that Bio Farma adhered to good distribution practice in accordance with World Health Organization recommendations, following the "cold chain" system in storing and transporting the test kits at safe temperatures.
On the 112th National Awakening Day on Wednesday, TFRIC19 joined a virtual launch of innovative COVID-19 products held by the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin were in attendance.
Besides the PCR test kits, other domestically produced products launched that day were rapid test kits, ventilators, immunomodulators, convalescent plasma, mobile lab BSL-2, COVID-19 detection AI, autonomous UVC mobile robots (AUMRs) and purifying respirators.
“I am optimistic that things that we never thought of before, which we could only import, can ultimately be produced independently. We should be able to produce our own vaccines as well," Jokowi said as streamed on the Research and Technology Ministry’s YouTube channel. (syk)