The Research and Technology Ministry in Indonesia is developing its own COVID-19 vaccine, called Merah Putih. The vaccine is named after Indonesia’s flag colors, and it is expected to be available in the middle of 2021.
The country is struggling to contain COVID-19, with more than 160,000 confirmed cases so far. While containment is difficult, they are instead pinning their hopes up on vaccine development.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo—or Jokowi—says that the Merah Putih vaccine is helmed by the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology. They are also cooperating with Sinovac Biotech of China for vaccine research for several months.
It is reported that the vaccine is currently entering phase 3 trial. If successful, Indonesia is planning to produce 290 million doses of the vaccine by 2021. Meanwhile, the country is looking to secure access to candidate vaccines from countries like Korea, as well as the Bill Gates-backed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
“We can produce more, and if we have more, we can sell them to other countries. In ASEAN I have not yet seen a country come out with a vaccine,” said Jokowi.
In Russia, they will also proceed with their own COVID-19 vaccine—Sputnik V—after less than two months of human testing. They also have yet to complete its Phase 3 trial and already aim to start mass production in September. However, Malaysia has no plans to buy any early development COVID-19 vaccine yet.