• Monday, Oct 25, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:06 am

Indonesia in talks with WHO to become global vaccine hub

  • Published at 12:40 pm September 16th, 2021
Vaccine
Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin shows the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination programme in Surabaya, Indonesia, March 23, 2021 Reuters/

Indonesia would use its leadership of the G-20 group of countries starting in December to promote global health security and prepare for the next pandemic

 

Indonesia’s health minister said that Indonesia is in talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as six drug companies to become a global hub for manufacturing vaccines, reports Reuters.

Detailing the ambitious strategy for the first time, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in an interview that Indonesia would kickstart the initiative by prioritizing purchases of Covid-19 vaccines from companies that shared technology and set up facilities in Indonesia.

"We are working with the WHO to be one of the global manufacturing hubs for mRNA," he said, adding he had directly lobbied WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on a trip earlier this month to Europe.

"The WHO has pointed to South Africa as the first location, and I said that logically Indonesia should be the second."


Also Read - Covid-19: Highest 592 people die in a day in Malaysia


The new "technology transfer hubs" are part of a WHO strategy to more widely distribute vaccine production globally and build capacity in developing countries to make new generation vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer's nucleic acid-based mRNA jabs which can be quickly adapted to handle new virus variants.

A senior WHO official said efforts to develop a base for Covid-19 vaccine production in South Africa will focus on trying to replicate Moderna's shot, but a lack of progress in talks with the US company means the project will take time, reports Reuters.

Budi said Indonesia was keen to build expertise in mRNA vaccines, as well as viral vector shots such as those produced by AstraZeneca.

A WHO spokesperson said Indonesia was one of 25 low and middle-income countries to express interest in hosting a vaccine hub but declined to say if it was a leading candidate.

Budi said Indonesia was well-placed to export vaccines around the world, especially as it is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country and could guarantee that its jabs were halal, or permissible according to Islam.

Indonesia has grappled with one of the most severe outbreaks of Covid-19 in Asia and has recorded more than 4.1 million infections and 139,000 deaths, although public health experts say the true figures are likely several times higher.


Also Read - Indonesian village turns unwanted trash into 'Covid helper'


Indonesia's rate of infections and deaths has declined sharply in recent weeks but, with only 25% of its target population of 208 million people fully inoculated against Covid-19, it still has a major vaccination effort ahead, especially as it likely will have to provide third booster shots.

 Budi said Indonesian pharmaceutical companies are in discussions with vaccine manufacturers and developers Anhui, Walvax, Sinovac, Genexine, Arcturus Therapeutics and Novavax. The talks range from basic "fill and finish" to upstream production and research and development, he added.

 "We open the same opportunities also to AstraZeneca. We are also open to the existing partner Pfizer," he said. "We are open to anyone."

Bambang Heriyanto, corporate secretary of Bio Farma, Indonesia's largest state-owned drug company, confirmed the talks were on and the first step was to collaborate on the transfer of technology. It would take two or three years to build a fully operational production facility, he said.

Budi said Indonesia would use its leadership of the G-20 group of countries starting in December to promote global health security and prepare for the next pandemic after the coronavirus, also known as Sars-CoV-2.

"No one can guarantee that Sars-CoV-3 and 4 will not come."

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail