Indonesia will soon start human clinical trials of its home-grown Covid-19 vaccine Merah Putih, Vietnam News Agency reported according to the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).
Jointly developed by Airlangga University (Unair) and PT Biotis Pharmaceutical Indonesia, the vaccine has been given the go-ahead by BPOM for further development and clinical trials.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, BPOM head Penny K Lukito said of the six domestic institutions and universities participating in developing the Merah Putih vaccine, Airlangga University (Unair) had made the most progress.
After undergoing pre-clinical testing on genetically modified mice, the inactivated virus vaccine is now being tested on monkeys.
Penny pledged that BPOM would continue to support and monitor Unair and PT Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia so that the vaccine is produced in accordance with international standards.
Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture, Research and Technology Nadiem Makarim meanwhile said re-opening schools to students after a year and a half of online learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic was the government’s top priority at the moment.
In a speech at an online meeting, Nadiem said the effort aims to reduce the educational lag caused by online learning, noting that online learning has affected the capacity and psychology of students.
The ministry has called on localities that have been allowed to reopen schools to boldly organise small-scale face-to-face teaching sessions.
Previously, the Indonesian government allowed schools in areas imposing public activity restrictions at Levels One, Two and Three to organise face-to-face teaching and learning sessions.