Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine candidate will undergo human trials in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Sinovac Biotech)

Indonesia to Produce 100 Million Doses of Sinovac's Covid-19 Vaccine

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN & HERU ANDRIYANTO

JULY 22, 2020

Jakarta. State-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma has set a plan to produce 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine once the final stage of clinical tests is completed, President Joko Widodo revealed on Wednesday.

The vaccine is being developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech who is currently conducting Phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil. 

The president said Indonesia will join in the Phase 3 trials involving 1,620 volunteers.

"We will be conducting Phase 3 clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine involving 1,620 volunteers. The process and protocol will be closely monitored and guided by the BPOM [Drug and Food control Agency],” the president wrote on his Twitter account.

“If it works, state company Bio Farma is ready to produce 100 million doses a year.”

The company said earlier it had received 2,400 doses of the vaccine from Sinovac for clinical tests from August 3 until January next year.

“If Phase 3 clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine go on smoothly, Bio Farma will start producing at scale in the first quarter of 2021. We have prepared the production facility with a maximum capacity of 250 million doses,” Bio Farma President Director Honesti Basyir said in the company’s website.

At the initial stage, the company will produce 40 million doses of the vaccine before being expanded to 100 million.

He said Sinovac was appointed a partner because both companies shared similar vaccine production platform.

Before human trials begin, the Sinovac vaccine must first undergo laboratory tests at Bio Farma. 

The human trials will take place at Padjadjaran University’s Medical Faculty in Bandung, West Java, the company said.

The 1,620 subjects are volunteers between 18 and 59 years old who meet certain criteria.

Vaccine from Oxford

These announcements came amid encouraging news that another Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford, the UK, is capable of generating antibodies and white blood cells against the virus during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of clinical trials.

The British Embassy in Jakarta said 100 percent of the participants developed antibodies after being given two doses of the vaccine, and 90 percent of them only needed one dose to develop antibodies.

“When the history books are written, this week’s encouraging news from Oxford, taken together with simultaneous announcements by those working on a vaccine here in Indonesia, might come to be regarded as the moment when the tide turned,” Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Rob Fenn said in a statement.

“Whether it is this vaccine, or another, that ultimately makes the difference, the UK and Indonesia have emphasized from the outset the importance of a vaccine that is affordable and accessible to everyone,” he said.

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