Indonesia on Tuesday began the final-phase clinical trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
During a visit to West Java’s provincial capital Bandung, President Joko Widodo surveyed the first injections of the vaccine candidate, dubbed CoronaVac, to 20 volunteers.
They were among the 1,620 people aged between 18 and 59 who would receive the candidate vaccine during the phase 3 trial expected to last until December.
The phase 3 trial is being conducted through collaboration with Indonesian state-run vaccine maker PT Bio Farma and Padjadjaran University Medical School.
“We are proud of the capability of state-owned enterprise Bio Farma…for this has reached the third phase of clinical trial,” said State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, also head of Indonesia’s national economic and Covid-19 recovery team.
Indonesia’s Food and Drug Supervisory Agency is monitoring the clinical trial to ensure that it is held safely and ethically.
Bio Farma CEO Honesti Basyir said the vaccine could be used by Muslims as it is guaranteed to be halal.
Basyir also said his company currently has a maximal production capacity of 100 million vaccines, and that the capacity is expected to be expanded to 150 million dosages in December before eventually reaching 250 million ones.
“Hopefully, with this capacity, it could help the government deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Sinovac’s vaccine candidate is being tested around the world, including in Brazil.
Indonesia has recorded more than 127,000 Covid-19 cases so far, with more than 5,760 deaths.