Padang Pariaman, Sumbar (ANTARA) - State-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma is conducting the Phase 3 clinical trial for the Merah Putih COVID-19 vaccine in Padang Pariaman District, West Sumatra, before the vaccine can be distributed to the public.

"The number of volunteers in West Sumatra has reached 1,725 people, with most of them coming from Padang Pariaman. This could not have been done without the hard work of our team, local government, hospitals, Andalas University, and Padang Pariaman police," President Director of Bio Farma Honesti Basyir remarked during a visit to review the clinical trial in Padang Pariaman on Tuesday.

Overall, the Phase 3 clinical trial of the Merah Putih vaccine will take place at four locations, namely Padang Pariaman, Depok, Semarang, and Makassar, with four thousand volunteers targeted to participate in it, he disclosed.

The clinical trials for the vaccine were launched at the end of 2021 and have now entered Phase 3, Basyir said. Until the third clinical trial, Bio Farma has not detected any significant side effects.

There is a difference between the Merah Putih vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine that has been used in Indonesia, he noted. The Merah Putih vaccine is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine and is guaranteed to be halal.

"The COVID-19 Merah Putih vaccine is halal and will receive emergency-use authorization (EUA) from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) by the end of July 2022," Basyir informed.

After the Phase 3 clinical trials conclude and the EUA is obtained, the vaccine would be provided as a booster for adults and used for vaccinating children, he said. Bio Pharma’s current production capacity is 120 million doses per year, which can be increased at the government’s direction.

Meanwhile, Deputy Head of Padang Pariaman District Rahmang said that concerns over the halalness of vaccines are among the obstacles to conducting vaccinations in Indonesia, especially in his district.

"People are busy debating whether the COVID-19 vaccine is halal or not. Therefore, we support the halal vaccination carried out by Bio Farma," he remarked.

He said that the participation of Padang Pariaman residents as volunteers in the clinical trials for the vaccine shows their love for domestic health products.

Translator: Altas Maulana, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022