The Jakarta Post
The Russian government has officially made an offer to the Indonesian government for the use and further development of a coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, which is currently in its Phase III clinical trial.
Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva said her government had contacted the Health Ministry about the possible distribution and use of the Sputnik V vaccine and was currently waiting for its response.
"We sent a letter to the ministry on Sept. 17. We're still waiting for a response," Vorobieva said in an interview with The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The Sputnik V is a vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute in coordination with the Russian defense ministry. It is based on a proven vaccine against adenovirus – the common cold.
The vaccine is expected to provide immunity from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for up to two years, according to the Russian health ministry. More than 44,000 people have taken part in the Sputnik V clinical trial.
The platform used for the vaccine was developed by Russian scientists over 20 years and had formed the basis for several vaccines in the past, including those against Ebola. Gamaleya’s vaccine is based on similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by CanSino, a Chinese vaccine-making company.
Earlier, Vorobieva said once the Phase III clinical trial was completed that the first step would be to make the vaccine available in the Indonesian market.
The Russian government also expects that clinical trials for the vaccine can start in Indonesia, which would allow for its registration with the health authority in the country. So far, 44,000 people have taken part in clinical trials for the vaccine worldwide, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who was inoculated in May this year.
Russia has made a sales pitch to countries around the world, and claims that countries with over 50 percent of the world population have expressed interest in Sputnik V.
Russia expects that by the end of 2021 it will have supplied over 1 billion doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
The Russian government also expects to allow Indonesia to join the manufacturing process of the vaccine. "We are ready to manufacture at least some of the components of the vaccine in Indonesia," Vorobieva said in August.
In April, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin discussing efforts to step up cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Jokowi and Putin have agreed to step up contacts between the health ministries of the two countries.
President Putin was scheduled to visit Indonesia in 2020 but the plan was called off following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Speaking on Thursday, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said COVID-19 vaccines developed in Britain and China would be sufficient to inoculate at least 70 percent of the Indonesian population. Terawan was referring to vaccines developed by China's Sinovac and Sinopharm and Britain's AstraZeneca.
"While waiting for the development of the Red and White vaccine, which will be ready in 2022, we will benefit from our partnerships with China and Britain," Terawan said as quoted by tempo.co.
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.