Since severe acute respiratory syndrome – Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first discovered in Indonesia, it was confirmed on March 20, 2020 in a dance instructor and her mother in a Jakarta restaurant, who were infected by their Japanese colleague. Furthermore, the virus spread quickly to 34 provinces in Indonesia: especially in Jakarta, West Java, and Central Java.
Then in April 2020, tests were carried out in various regions and there were 6,755,000 positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 - the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia after Vietnam. At that time, 161,110 people died, which was the second highest number of cases in Asia and ninth highest in the world.
The Indonesian government subsequently conducted 175,186,744 COVID-19 tests of the 270,000,000 residents in Indonesia, but the WHO still wanted to test all suspected positive cases. Therefore, large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were carried out. The situation in Indonesia was very frightening since there were not sufficient vaccines. However, thanks to international cooperation, the Indonesian government managed to obtain vaccine assistance. Considering the situation, the need for vaccines was enormous and due to the fact that nobody knew when the pandemic would be over, the Ministry of Research and Technology and Higher Education (Kemenristek) designed the red and white vaccine (Indonesian vaccine) involving several government institutions and universities.
With limited research tools and funds, inactivated vaccine platforms can be developed and are currently used as adult primary and booster vaccines in Indonesia. The isolates used as inactivated vaccines are original isolates from Surabaya Indonesia from the Research Center Vaccine Technology and Development (RCVTD), the Institute of Tropical Disease (ITD), Universitas Airlangga with as many as 59 isolates for SARS-CoV-2, and further research and development is being carried out using various methods including molecular characterisation, immunogenicity, efficacy, and growth properties of the virus. One isolate was selected which could be developed as a vaccine seed.
This resulted in the successful development of an inactivated vaccine platform designed with the triple helix concept involving the government including the Ministry of Health, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency of the Republic of Indonesia, academia, and industry. At present, the vaccine is produced and was developed by PT. Biotis Pharmaceutical Indonesia, called Indonesia Vaccine (INAVAC). In addition, a second generation COVID-19 vaccine is currently being developed to prepare for a further COVID-19 pandemic.
Key words: Pandemic COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, molecular characterisation, INAVAC.
Speakers: Dr. Fedik Abdul Rantam and Team
Universitas Airlangga, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Ministry of Health, The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency of the Republic of Indonesia