"On the occasion of our 130th anniversary today on Thursday (August 6), we will start the clinical trial for development of the COVID-19 vaccine," Bio Farma President Director Honesti Basyir stated during a virtual ceremony to celebrate the pharmaceutical firm's anniversary in Bandung, West Java, on Thursday.
Basyir pointed to the wild rush among nations worldwide to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
"Only this vaccine can help in restoring normalcy back into our lives. Of course, we do not want to wear masks and face shields and maintain social distancing forever, as it will affect our social interactions. Humans are social beings," he affirmed.
Basyir sought the support of all parties for the smooth running of the clinical trial, so that the pharmaceutical holding, also including Kimia Farma and Indofarma, could produce the vaccine.
On July 19, a total of 2,400 doses of the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech arrived in Indonesia and were delivered to Bio Farma, with the support of the State Enterprises Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry that viewed the vaccine as diplomatic goods.
Bio Farma is optimistic of commencing production of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac in the first quarter of 2021, if the third phase clinical trial were to run smoothly.
The third phase of the clinical trial, scheduled to run for six months, is expected to conclude by January 2021.
The vaccine has cleared several phases before the clinical trial in August, including the laboratory trial at Bio Farma's laboratory, and was required to secure several permits.
The phase 3 clinical trial will be conducted at the Clinical Trial Center of the Medicine Faculty of Padjajaran University (Unpad).
The trial will involve 1,620 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 years that meet a specific criteria. The rest of the vaccine will be used for lab tests at several laboratories, including Bio Farma and the National Food and Drug Testing Center (PPOMN).
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