Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-owned pharmaceutical firm PT Bio Farma is preparing several schemes for importing three vaccines against monkeypox as part of an early handling effort against the virus.

"The first stage that can be done through the Special Access Scheme (SAS) is the procurement of vaccines. Of course, we have established communication with several vaccine manufacturers. However, we are still waiting for the direction from the Ministry of Health," President Director of PT Bio Farma Honesti Basyir confirmed here on Monday.

The three monkeypox vaccines include the Imvamune vaccine produced by Bavarian Nordic, Denmark. The Ministry of Health has imported a total of two thousand doses of the vaccine.

Basyir said the vaccine uses an attenuated virus platform and can be used to provide protection against smallpox, monkeypox, and orthopoxvirus to people aged above 18 years.

The administration of the Imvamune vaccine has been simplified from two doses to one dose due to limited stock availability globally.

The vaccine has been used in the United States and Canada to prevent monkeypox, and is prioritized for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

The next vaccine candidate is LC16m8, which uses an attenuated virus platform and is produced by SVRG Kaketsuken, Japan. It is used to prevent severe symptoms in smallpox patients.

Kaketsuken produces the vaccine only for domestic supply, with the bulk production capacity pegged at 30 million doses, which will soon be increased to 80 million doses.

ACAM2000 is the third vaccine that will be imported by Indonesia. The vaccine based on an attenuated virus platform is intended for people aged above one year.

However, the vaccine cannot be given to people with heart disease and immunosuppression.

According to Basyir, Bio Farma has established intensive communication with several partner vaccine manufacturers, including Jenner Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Another monkeypox vaccine scheme is the provision of the Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine in the country to reduce the risk of infection in adults who have received the vaccine under the smallpox vaccination program before 1980.

Bio Farma can provide Varicella vaccine for people aged 1–50 years. The stocks of the vaccine in storage facilities as of August 29, 2022, stood at 27,458 vials.

"Actually, there is no scientific data that says the Varicella vaccine is effective against monkeypox. However, at least, this vaccine can reduce the risk of infection in people who have received this vaccine, especially among adults," he explained.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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