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Jakarta Post

Kalbe to start COVID-19 vaccine trial with S. Korean pharma firm

  • Mardika Parama

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 29, 2020   /   03:29 pm
Kalbe to start COVID-19 vaccine trial with S. Korean pharma firm Illustration of a vaccine for COVID-19. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Publicly listed pharmaceutical company Kalbe Farma has signed an agreement with South Korea-based biotechnology firm Genexine Inc. to start a clinical trial of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine in Indonesia.

Kalbe would also incorporate government agencies in the process to ensure public access to the vaccine once the trials showed positive results, the company’s president director Sie Djohan said.

“We hope research and development on the COVID-19 vaccine can yield positive results to ensure vaccine access for Indonesia can be secured,” he said in a press statement on Thursday.

The DNA vaccine prototype is being developed by a consortium of biotech companies and research institutions, namely Genexine, Binex, the International Vaccine Institute, GenNBio, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology.

The candidate vaccine, called GX-19, has been tested to primates, resulting in an antibody on the test subjects that could neutralize the novel coronavirus.

Globally, there are 10 candidate vaccines that are in clinical evaluation and 115 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation, including GX-19 as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization’s document.

Clinical trials on humans for vaccine candidates are divided in a three-phase process, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Small groups of people will receive the trial vaccine during the first phase. If the candidate vaccine shows positive results, the trial moves to phase two, where the clinical study is expanded and the vaccine is given to people who have characteristics similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.

In phase three, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.