Workers move a medical equipment from a truck at Siloam Hospitals' new Covid-19 facility in South Jakarta on March 30. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Research and Technology Ministry Consortium to Produce Covid-19 Test Kit and Ventilator


APRIL 07, 2020

Jakarta. A total of 100,000 rapid diagnostic test kits will be produced in the next one or two months by Indonesia's new Covid-19 consortium led by the Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT), Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said on Monday.

"The consortium has been developing two types of test kit, a non-polymerase chain reaction [PCR] diagnostic test kit, or rapid diagnostic test kit, and a PCR diagnostic test kit that requires a swab test. Hopefully, we can produce 100,000 rapid test kits in one or two months," Bambang said in a teleconference on Monday.

Though the rapid diagnostic test kit is not as accurate compared to the PCR diagnostic test kit, Bambang hoped it would at least help authorities to perform initial screenings.

"The rapid diagnostic test kit can produce a result within 10 to 15 minutes, but there's a possibility the result might be a false negative. It can only be performed once and requires further tests," he said.


The minister said the rapid diagnostic test kit works by detecting two types of antibodies, immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG), that appear six days after a viral infection – that might be caused by viruses other than the coronavirus.

Bambang said the consortium has also been developing another type of antigen-based non-PCR diagnostic test kit called a rapid diagnostic test microchip that can detect coronavirus infection after two days. It will take four months to be produced.

Aside from the non-PCR diagnostic test kit, within less than a month the consortium will also develop a PCR-based mobile test kit to complement the swab test, the minister said.

"The test kit is similar to the mobile biosafety level-2 laboratory [BSL 2]. It will complement the swab test in places where they have no BSL 2 laboratory. Hopefully, this innovation will help and can be rolled out in many regions," he said.

Bambang also said the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) has been training 800 volunteers who are capable of performing PCR tests in biosafety level-2 laboratory and biosafety level-3 laboratory.

"With additional human resources, we should be able to do more PCR tests. This was LIPI's recommendation to the government," he said.

Portable Ventilator

The consortium has also developed a portable ventilator using almost 100 percent local components.

Bambang said the portable ventilator has been tested by doctors and will also be tested by the Health Ministry and hospitals before it will be produced.

"Ventilator is crucial and much-needed by [Covid-19] patients. While we are waiting for imported ventilators, the consortium has developed our own ventilator for non-ICU patients that can be mass-produced within two weeks," Bambang said.