Indonesia plans to start human clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine Merah Putih hinh anh 1Taking samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing in Indonesia (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) - Indonesia will soon start human clinical trials of its home-grown COVID-19 vaccine Merah Putih, according to the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).

Jointly being developed by Airlangga University (Unair) and PT Biotis Pharmaceutical Indonesia, the vaccine has been given the go-ahead by BPOM for further development and clinical trials.

Speaking at a press conference on August 18, head of BPOM  Penny K Lukito said among the six domestic institutions and universities participating in developing the Merah Putih vaccine, Airlangga University (Unair) has made the most progress.

After undergoing pre-clinical testing on genetically modified mice, the inactivated virus vaccine is currently undergoing testing on monkeys.

Penny pledged that BPOM will continue to support and monitor Unair and PT Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia so that the vaccine is produced in accordance with international standards.

On the same day, Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture, Research and Technology Nadiem Makarim said re-opening schools to students after a year and a half of online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the top priority of the government at present.

In his speech at an online meeting, Nadiem said this effort aims to  reduce educational lag caused by online learning, noting that online learning has affected the capacity and psychology of students.

The ministry has called on localities that have been allowed to reopen schools to boldly organise small-scale face-to-face teaching.

Previously, the Indonesian government allowed schools in areas imposing the public activity restrictions (PPKM) levels 1, 2, and 3 to organise face-to-face teaching and learning./.