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International Collaboration It is hoped to accelerate development of COVID-19 vaccine

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JAKARTA, CILACAP.INFO – International collaboration, both between countries and institutions, is needed in order to develop a COVID-19 vaccine quickly, said Presidential Chief of Staff, Moeldoko, on Wednesday.

“We must immediately find a vaccine to end this pandemic. Collaboration between countries and international institutions is very important as (part of) efforts to find this vaccine in a short (frame of) time,” Moeldoko said during his meeting with chairman of COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium at Bina Graha Building in Jakarta.

Moeldoko said whole world is currently racing to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, Indonesia is also conducting research so that it can produce its own vaccine, given large size of its population, he added.

The effort towards local vaccine production is intended to identify certain types of vaccines that are suitable for coronavirus strain seen in Indonesia, which may show different characteristics compared to other types of virus strains reported in other countries, he continued.

The push for vaccine is in line with President instructions to accelerate handling of COVID-19 and support public health.

In addition, development of a vaccine is part of efforts to build national independence in health sector.

“The development of a COVID-19 vaccine is also a matter of health sovereignty and national pride,” Moeldoko said

Since beginning of pandemic, Presidential Staff Office has coordinated with various parties, ranging from ministries and government agencies, Task Force, hospitals, universities, and industry in responding to coronavirus pandemic, which has spread rapidly.

“From beginning, we formed COVID-19 Integrated Information Center (PINTER) as official communication media (center) for handling corona. In addition, we also distributed protective equipment, medical devices, and masks directly to various hospitals and communities,” Moeldoko said.

Meanwhile, chairman of COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium, Ali Ghufron Mukti, explained that in developing COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia, government has entered into two forms of collaboration, namely domestic and international.

“It must be ensured that international collaboration in developing vaccines truly benefits Indonesian people,” Ali Ghufron Mukti said.

According to Ali, LBM Eijkman is currently developing a vaccine through sub-unit method of recombinant protein, using a coronavirus strain originating from Indonesia. This method was chosen because Indonesia has required technology and experience to use it, and it is accustomed to developing vaccines using that technique.

Indonesia has also entered into international collaborations for developing a COVID-19 vaccine: PT Kalbe Farma has tied up with Genexine, PT BCHT with China National Biotech Group Company Limited, PT Biofarma with Sinovac, and PT Biofarma with CEPI.

Until now, Indonesia has submitted 16 Whole Genome Sequences (WGS) to Global Science Initiative and Primary Source for Genomics (GISAID). Ten of WGS are result of research conducted by LBM Eijkman, while 6 WGS have been submitted by Airlangga University. (Antara)

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