TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - During an online discussion on Wednesday, the former State-owned Enterprises minister Dahlan Iskan said that he is willing to volunteer for COVID-19 vaccine trials.
“If I meet the requirements, I’m willing to undergo the trials. I am willing to do so for the greater public interest in finding a vaccine for people that have not been exposed to COVID-19,” said Dahlan Iskan.
As previously reported, the Indonesian government through state-pharmaceutical firm Bio Farma is working on finding a vaccine by partnering with Chinese firm, Sinovac Biotech with early August slated to be the initial vaccine trial phase as Bio Farma had already received 2,400 doses from Sinovac.
Dahlan believes the early trial phase is crucial as the sooner it is held the quicker it will be to mass-produce the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that Indonesia must conduct the third phase vaccine trial as it would permit the country a production right.
“If not, we will not be able to receive the right to produce and we will have to import the vaccines, which does not guarantee its compatibility as it has never been tested here before,” said Dahlan in the virtual discussion.
As reported in early July, the Head of Corporate Communications Bio Farma Iwan Setiawan said that the company has partnered with Sinovac Biotech to develop the CoronaVac. They previously partnered to supply the polio vaccine, or Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV).
Once the tests pass, the CoronaVac will be produced and distributed for the Indonesian market before thinking about exporting it to Southeast Asian countries. “Bio Farma’s production capacity at least hovers around 100 - 250 million doses of vaccines per year.” As for the price of the completed product, Iwan assures that it has yet to be fixed but says it will be affordable for a large member of society.
Head of Bio Farma Corporate Communications Iwan Setiawan explained that Bio Farma acts as the sponsor for the third phase clinical trial in Indonesia and has appointed the Padjadjaran University to conduct the trials as the independent body.
CAESAR AKBAR | AHMAD FIKRI