Jakarta. More than 1,800 people have applied to become volunteers in the landmark clinical trial of a vaccine against coronavirus in Bandung, West Java.
The Indonesian government began recruiting volunteers last week to conduct human test of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech and appointed state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma to produce the vaccine at scale once the test is successfully concluded.
The clinical trial is arranged by Padjadjaran University’s Medicine Faculty that targets 1,620 volunteers to receive a shot of the vaccine candidate. It will take several months before the final results can be announced.
The university announced on Sunday 1,866 people had registered to the clinical trial team. They all must undergo medical checkup to qualify as volunteers.
“As expected, public enthusiasm is very high. Once we get 1,620 eligible volunteers, the registration will be closed,” Dr Rodman Tarigan, a spokesman for the clinical trial team, said in Bandung.
So far, around 100 volunteers have passed medical requirements to receive the Sinovac vaccine, he added.
The government said earlier mass vaccination will start February next year at the latest if the clinical trial is successful.
Bio Farma is set to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine by December and expand output to 250 million the following year.
Apart from the Sinovac-Bio Farma vaccine, Indonesia is also developing its own "Merah Putih" (red and white) vaccine, named after the colors of the country’s flag.
The local vaccine against coronavirus is being developed jointly by the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, the Research and Technology Ministry, the Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) and the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).
“We have been developing our own vaccine over the last three months using the isolated [strain] of the Covid-19 that spreads in Indonesia. The Merah Putih vaccine is expected to be ready by the mid of next year,” President Joko Widodo said last week.
“We are also open to international cooperation, for example with Sinovac in China and with G-42 in the United Arab Emirates, so that we can push for immediate vaccination on all the Indonesian people.”