Development of Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine is a Big Challenge: BRIN

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  • Scientists work in the Merah Putih vaccine research facility of the Bio Farma office in Bandung, Wednesday, August 12, 2020. ANTARA/Dhemas Reviyanto

    Scientists work in the Merah Putih vaccine research facility of the Bio Farma office in Bandung, Wednesday, August 12, 2020. ANTARA/Dhemas Reviyanto

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Developing the Merah Putih COVID-19 vaccine is a big challenge as no single country has experience in developing such a vaccine from scratch, chief of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has said.

    "Actually, what is more important is to give opportunities to our researchers to gain experience in developing vaccines,” Laksana Tri Handoko said in Jakarta on Saturday.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has offered momentum and challenge to researchers to create COVID-19 vaccines to meet domestic needs, he said.

    Hence, the Indonesian government has continued to support and facilitate the accelerated development of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, he informed.

    The development of the Merah Putih (Red and White) COVID-19 vaccine can be considered a form of knowledge investment for allowing Indonesia to produce a variety of vaccines to meet demand in the future, he said.

    In general, it takes up to dozens of years to develop a vaccine, he noted. In fact, the development of a vaccine is not automatically fruitful as expected, he said.

    Although researchers are required to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic, the vaccines must pass through all processes, in accordance with the required standards, in order to secure emergency-use authorization from the Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM), Handoko added.

    All parties or institutions responsible for developing vaccines are striving to create a COVID-19 vaccine candidate to help meet domestic demand, he said. However, they will all need process and joint efforts to achieve their aim, he added.

    Earlier, Handoko had said that, in general, the challenge facing researchers developing the vaccine is not easy because a lot of trials are needed to obtain the most optimal formula to get vaccine seeds.

    Producing drugs from vaccine seeds must involve the prescribed procedure, in accordance with the regulation, he added.

    The vaccine development process needs deep and complex research and development, Handoko said. Normally, no single research will automatically produce a potential vaccine candidate, he added.

    After a vaccine candidate is found, there are still a series of trials such as in vivo trials on animals, and first, second, and third phase clinical tests, production scale, and immunization, he noted.

    If a vaccine candidate does not give the desired result when it is tested on animals, then it is reformulated to obtain a vaccine candidate which is really effective in arousing an immune response, he said.

    Read: Close to Expiry; Poorer Nations Reject Over 100mn Covid-19 Vaccines

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