International collaboration, both between countries and institutions, is needed in order to develop a COVID-19 vaccine quickly, said Presidential Chief of Staff, Moeldoko, on Wednesday.
"We must immediately find a vaccine to end this pandemic. Collaboration between countries and international institutions is very important as (part of) efforts to find this vaccine in a short (frame of) time,” Moeldoko said during his meeting with the chairman of the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium at the Bina Graha Building in Jakarta.
Moeldoko said the whole world is currently racing to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, Indonesia is also conducting research so that it can produce its own vaccine, given the large size of its population, he added.
The effort towards local vaccine production is intended to identify certain types of vaccines that are suitable for the coronavirus strain seen in Indonesia, which may show different characteristics compared to other types of virus strains reported in other countries, he continued.
The push for the vaccine is in line with the President's instructions to accelerate the handling of COVID-19 and support public health.
In addition, the development of a vaccine is part of efforts to build national independence in the health sector.
"The development of a COVID-19 vaccine is also a matter of health sovereignty and national pride," Moeldoko said
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Presidential Staff Office has coordinated with various parties, ranging from ministries and government agencies, the Task Force, hospitals, universities, and the industry in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread rapidly.
"From the beginning, we formed the COVID-19 Integrated Information Center (PINTER) as the official communication media (center) for handling corona. In addition, we also distributed protective equipment, medical devices, and masks directly to various hospitals and communities," Moeldoko said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium, Ali Ghufron Mukti, explained that in developing the COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia, the government has entered into two forms of collaboration, namely domestic and international.
"It must be ensured that international collaboration in developing vaccines truly benefits the Indonesian people," Ali Ghufron Mukti said.
According to Ali, LBM Eijkman is currently developing a vaccine through the sub-unit method of recombinant protein, using a coronavirus strain originating from Indonesia. This method was chosen because Indonesia has the required technology and experience to use it, and it is accustomed to developing vaccines using that technique.
Indonesia has also entered into international collaborations for developing a COVID-19 vaccine: PT Kalbe Farma has tied up with Genexine, PT BCHT with China National Biotech Group Company Limited, PT Biofarma with Sinovac, and PT Biofarma with CEPI.
Until now, Indonesia has submitted 16 Whole Genome Sequences (WGS) to the Global Science Initiative and Primary Source for Genomics (GISAID). Ten of the WGS are the result of research conducted by LBM Eijkman, while 6 WGS have been submitted by Airlangga University.
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