Acting head of the Life Sciences Research Organization of BRIN, Iman Hidayat, said that the fastest progress in Merah Putih vaccine development has been made by Airlangga University, Surabaya.
"Currently, the team whose progress has been the fastest is the team from Unair, (which is developing the vaccine) in collaboration with PT Biotis, which has completed preclinical trials (for the vaccine) on macaques (monkeys)," he informed on Saturday.
The seven teams in the national consortium comprise Airlangga University, University of Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology, Gadjah Mada University, Padjadjaran University, the former Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, he said.
"Each team is developing the Merah Putih vaccine using different methods, ranging from vaccines based on virus inactivation (techniques) to vaccines based on recombinant proteins," Hidayat noted.
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After completing preclinical trials on macaques, Unair and PT Biotis will conduct phases 1, 2, and 3 of clinical trials, he said.
The clinical trials are expected to be completed and emergency-use authorization (EUA) will be obtained from the Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM) by July or August 2022, he added.
Meanwhile, other teams are still at the stage of optimizing antigen yield and some are conducting preclinical tests, Hidayat informed.
Given the emergence of the Omicron variant and possibly other variants in the future, it is hoped that the Merah Putih vaccine produced by the teams will become the government's main focus, he said.
COVID-19 vaccines for boosters are needed under current conditions, in addition for early vaccinations, he added.
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