Nod for first home-grown Covid-19 vaccine

THE head of the country’s food and drugs agency (BPOM) has approved its first domestically produced Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use for people over 18.

The Indovac vaccine was developed by the state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Penny Lukito, the head of BPOM, was cited by CNN Indonesia as saying the approval was “given as a primary vaccine for adults”.

Penny and a Bio Farma spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bio Farma said in September that it would produce 20 million doses of the vaccine in 2022 and 100 million doses by 2024.

It also said it has sought a halal certificate – which would make the vaccine permissible under Islam – from the relevant authorities.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.

Bio Farma chief Honesti Basyir said earlier in September that the vaccines were intended to “help reduce the nation’s dependency on imported vaccines”, adding that 80% of Indovac is locally sourced.

Indonesia, which reported one of the highest transmission rates of Covid-19 in the world in 2021, has used vaccines produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna.

Bio Farma has said it also sought emergency-use approval from the World Health Organisation.

Indonesia is also developing another home-grown vaccine called Inavac. — Reuters

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