Terawan Explains the Nusantara Vaccine Fiasco in House Hearing

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Laila Afifa

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  • Former Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto during a working meeting with Commission IX of the DPR RI at the Senayan Parliament Complex, Jakarta, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. However, on the same occasion, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) has not given the green light regarding the Implementation Approval. Clinical trials or PPUK clinical trials II and III of Nusantara vaccines initiated by Terawan. TEMPO / M Taufan Rengganis

    Former Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto during a working meeting with Commission IX of the DPR RI at the Senayan Parliament Complex, Jakarta, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. However, on the same occasion, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) has not given the green light regarding the Implementation Approval. Clinical trials or PPUK clinical trials II and III of Nusantara vaccines initiated by Terawan. TEMPO / M Taufan Rengganis

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The initiator of the controversial ‘Nusantara vaccine’, retired lieutenant general Terawan Agus Putranto, on Wednesday explained in a House hearing a number of issues related to the actual source of the vaccine. 

    “Many have said that this [Nusantara vaccine] is actually made by Americans and so on. Well, I chose to keep silent because why would I answer them. They are stating their opinions,” said Terawan in the hearing with Commission VI members on June 16. 

    The former Health Minister claimed that the dendritic cell vaccine was in fact made in Indonesia. He even brought the tools used to produce the vaccine. Terawan further said that 90 percent of the production material was already produced in Indonesia and only two components were imported from the United States. 

    “All of the items are made inIndonesia; well, some of them were imported from the U.S., such as the protein antigen solution and the differentiation media since the research and development has not reached that stage,” said Terawan, asserting that the project is a joint research and he would accept whatever the public views it.

    After the ‘Nusantara vaccine’ officially failed clinical trials, the research continues with a different name. The research couldn't be commercialized and would not need a marketing authorization.

    The dendritic cell research, since its initiation, is a joint research between the Health Ministry's RnD department and Aivita Biomedical Indonesia, a US-based company. Tempo found that the development of the dendritic cell Covid vaccine done by Aivita Biomedical Inc in the US was also stuck.

    Citing Clinicaltrials.gov - a United States government clinical trial data provider - Aivita Biomedical Inc is attempting to obtain a clinical trial permit from the U.S. food and drug administration. In their proposal, Aivita proposed 175 volunteers for the clinical trial but has yet to recruit any.

    The website also states that the dendritic cell clinical trials research for Covid-19 vaccine in Indonesia have been completed on April 5, 2021. The research was reportedly done at the Dr. Kariadi General Hospital in Semarang.

    However, there was no report on the result of the phase 1 research posted on the website. But Aivita Biomedical claimed that the Indonesian research had undergone without significant problems.

    Amidst the brouhaha regarding the Nusantara Vaccine, Aivita announced that it will soon receive a US$25 million to fund a number of its researches, including the dendritic cell treatment. 

    Read: Farewell to Terawan's Vaccine

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