During the meeting, witnessed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir, the Health Ministry signed a letter of intent (LoI) with ICL and VGH.
According to the Health Ministry's Health Research and Development Agency Head dr. Slamet, MHP, Indonesia wants to conduct phase III clinical trials of ICL's covid-19 vaccine next year.
"The LoI stipulates an agreement between the two parties to establish mutually beneficial cooperation," said the Health Ministry in a press release on Wednesday.
Named Covac1, ICL's covid-19 vaccine uses self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) technology. The covid-19 vaccine is based on a new approach that uses synthetic strands of genetic code or RNA, based on the virus’s genetic material.
Once injected into muscle, the RNA self amplifies – generating copies of itself – and instructs the body’s own cells to make copies of a spiky protein found on the outside of the virus. This should train the immune system to respond to the coronavirus so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against covid-19 in future.
If the trials succeed, the covid-19 vaccine may be uniquely able to deliver effective doses from relatively low volumes of the vaccine, and lends itself to rapid scale-up in manufacturing at a relatively low cost.
"It is also claimed to be halal because it uses synthetic materials," the Health Ministry stated.