Indonesia is one of several countries in the world that examine people's immunity every six months through the serosurvey method
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic lies in identifying new virus types through genome sequencing and monitoring people's immunity through antibody serosurveys, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

"Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia is already under control because (we) already know the enemies through the genome sequencing method," he said at the “2023 National Coordination Meeting of Regional Heads and the Regional Leadership Forum.”

The meeting was followed online from here on Tuesday.

When the pandemic first hit Indonesia, it took 10 months to carry out laboratory tests of 140 samples for genome sequencing due to limited testing facilities, the minister noted.

However, now, the number of genome sequencing tests has been increased to up to 8 thousand samples per month in laboratories spread across 12 cities in Indonesia.

According to Sadikin, the rise in Omicron cases in the country at the end of 2022 was not caused by an increase in people's mobility but by the emergence of new virus variants, such as XBB and BQ.1.

He informed that the efforts taken to recognize new virus variants during the pandemic have been supported by the government through a series of strategies for managing the capability of laboratory networks to do so. The strategies are evaluated regularly by the Ministry of Health, he added.

Apart from identifying variants, the government also needs to measure people's immunity against the risk of infection, he said.

"Indonesia is one of several countries in the world that examine people's immunity every six months through the serosurvey method," he pointed out.

He said that the people's immune system is like the universal defense system of people in facing the attack of COVID-19. "So if a new variant enters, the wave will still be small," he added.

The ministry is targeting to issue the report on the third serosurvey in 2023, which involved a survey team from the Public Health Faculty of the University of Indonesia, within the next one or two weeks.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Sri Haryati
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