Indonesia launched human testing of an indigenous Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, after receiving approval from the drug authority, as the nation confronts a surge in virus infections.
Airlangga University and Biotis Pharmaceutical Indonesia are leading research on the “Merah Putih” (“Red White”) vaccine, which is named after the colors of the Indonesian national flag.
The project has been delayed since its inception in 2020, but officials now want to have it operational by the middle of 2022 provided the testing are successful.
Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Indonesia’s health minister, said the medicine, which is scheduled to be handed out in the last phases of the country’s immunization program, might be provided to other countries as a booster jab or as a vaccine for children aged three to six.
“I have discussed this matter with the president and he has agreed to use this vaccine as a donation to countries in need,” Sadikin said Wednesday during a kickoff event for the human trials in Surabaya.
The clinical studies’ first and second stages will comprise 90 and 405 adult volunteers, respectively. According to the dean of Airlangga University, Mohammad Nasih, the Merah Putih vaccination has received “halal” approval from the Indonesian Ulema Council, the Muslim majority nation’s main religious clerical organization.
“We hope with this halal certification, the public confidence to use this vaccine will be higher,” Nasih told reporters.
Indonesia has approved 13 vaccinations and boosters, but has mostly utilized Chinese-made vaccines and has failed to get enough doses for its population of over 270 million people.
Since the onset of the epidemic, the Indonesian government has emphasized the significance of researching and manufacturing national vaccinations.
The country was devastated by Covid-19 in July of last year, when the Delta form swept through.
Daily instances dropped dramatically at the end of the year, but the spread of Omicron has lately returned the country to 30,000 confirmed cases each day.
In sum, the largest economy in Southeast Asia has recorded over 4.5 million verified cases, with almost 145,000 deaths.