Zacharias Wuragil (Reuters/Nature), Jakarta – Indonesia is set to produce a COVID-19 vaccine using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which is similar to Pfizer and Moderna in the United States. The technology was brought from China as it was developed by Suzhou Abogen Biosciences Co.
In a written statement received by Tempo on Wednesday, July 27, a technology transfer agreement had been inked between Abogen and the drug and vaccine manufacturer PT Etana Biotechnologies Indonesia which would carry out the local production.
The two would collaborate with the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Medicine (FKUI) and Persahabatan Hospital (RSUP) for collaborative research, development, and clinical trials.
"With this collaboration, it is hoped that more Indonesian children will master mRNA technology, so it can become a milestone in the development of biological products using the mRNA platform," reads the statement shared by PT Etana.
It was stated that the technology transfer had begun as the Etana team had been in China. The local production facilities have also received a Good Manufacturing Practice certificate from BPOM. The Health Ministry and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment supported the program.
"The development of a domestic vaccine based on next-generation mRNA technology is a form of Etana's support to the government in building the independence of the pharmaceutical industry," the statement concluded.
In China, Abogen with Walvax Biotechnology and the country's military research institute under the name ARCoV co-developed an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which has gone through final clinical trials in China, Mexico, and Indonesia.
The preliminary results published at the end of May found that a booster using this COVID-19 vaccine triggered a four-fold increase in antibodies in recipients who had received two injections of the Sinovac vaccine compared to using the CoronaVac booster which is based on inactivated virus technology.