Head of BPOM RI Supports “Merah Putih” Vaccine Development in ITB

Oleh Adi Permana

Editor Vera Citra Utami

BANDUNG, itb.ac.id – Head of Indonesian Food and Drug Authority (BPOM RI), Dr. Penny K. Lukito, visit Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) on Friday (16/4/2020) to observe the progress of “Merah Putih” vaccine manufacture, which one of them made in ITB. The visit took place in the Biochemistry Laboratory of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of ITB and the Molecule Bioactivity Laboratory in Lab. Doping Building of ITB, Jalan Ganesa No. 10.

Head of BPOM directly held a discussion after the visit with the ITB vaccine team in the Rectorate Building on Jalan Tamansari No. 64 Bandung. The visit attended by Rector of ITB Prof. Reini Wirahadikusumah, Ph.D. is filled with discussion regarding accompaniment act towards “Merah Putih” Vaccine development by ITB Vaccine Team. At this moment, ITB Vaccine Team is doing cultivation on COVID-19 Vaccine candidate based on protein subunit platform and adenovirus vector.

“This vaccine is across sectors, so it needs assistance and complete facility. Therefore, this is our chance to cooperate in every ecosystem needed so this vaccine can be utilized in society,” said Head of BPOM Dr. Penny.

She explained, research about vaccines is her main duty, mandated by the Ministry of Research and Technology/BRIN. However, the downstream process is BPOM’s responsibility. The visit was to make sure that vaccine research that is already ongoing can be developed according to the standard until it is ready to be clinically tested. “Because (it is) across sectors, it needs more intensive accompaniment until ‘Merah Putih’ Vaccine, which is already studied by various campuses, becomes our autonomy in the vaccine field, so it needs accompaniment and facility development,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rector of ITB Prof. Reini welcomed the visit of the Head of BPOM RI to ITB. The visit shows support and seriousness of BPOM in vaccine manufacture development. Rector said, making vaccines involves a multidisciplinary approach so that collaboration and synergy is needed.

On the occasion, ITB vaccine team, Prof. Dessy Natalia, Ph.D., explains about research of vaccine candidates in ITB. She explained that there are two vaccine candidates which become the focus of ITB research, videlicet from Adenovirus and Protein Subunit (Bacteria and Yeast). According to her, ITB Vaccine Team is already producing RBD protein in E. Coli.

Meanwhile, Dr.rer.nat. apt. Aluicia Anita Artarini elucidated about the development of adenovirus-based vaccine candidate. In her presentation, she visualizes adenovirus vaccine production process in lab scale from early stage to immunogenicity test on animals. The visit was also attended by the leader of ITB’s COVID-19 Task Force Ernawati Arifin Giri, Ph.D. and LPPM-ITB Secretary of Research Dr. Rino R. Mukti.

Reporter: Adi Permana
Translator: Aghisna Syifa Rahmani (TPB-SITHS 2020)

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