Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA) - Head of the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) has expressed the hope that the indigenous Merah Putih (Red and White) COVID-19 vaccine would be registered with the World Health Organization (WHO).
"So that, in the future, it will not only become an alternative choice for the country but also become an export product," Penny Kusumastuti Lukito said at the launch of the Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine at Campus A of Airlangga University (Unair), here Monday.
After obtaining a permit from BPOM, Unair has officially commenced the Phase 3 clinical trial of the Red and White vaccine with 4,005 volunteers.
According to the BPOM head, if the vaccine is registered with the WHO and exported, it would be possible for the vaccine's name to be changed to a more universal one.
Lukito said she hoped that the Phase 3 clinical trial would run smoothly and the results would get obtained soon.
The successful development of Unair's Red and White vaccine has become a matter of pride for all elements of the country because it is the first locally-made COVID-19 vaccine, she added.
Meanwhile, Director of Pharmaceutical Production and Distribution at the Ministry of Health Agusdini Banun Saptaningsih expressed her optimism that the development of the Unair vaccine would prove to be a big step in Indonesia's efforts to achieve independence in the field of vaccine production.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted policymakers to strengthen the health system's resilience in the country, Saptaningsih noted.
"We will also transform the health sector, one of which is the resilience of the health system through pharmaceutical resilience," she remarked.
Regarding the target groups, Saptaningsih said that the Red and White vaccine will probably be utilized for booster and children's vaccinations.