Even though there are mutations, people do not need to panic excessively

Minister of Research and Technology / Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency, Bambang Brodjonegoro on Mutations of the New Corona Virus

A number of countries are competing to make vaccines to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, when vaccine development has not been completed, the Covid-19 virus is reportedly mutating.

This is certainly troubling for many parties. Apart from worrying that the Covid-19 virus will spread faster and be more virulent, the vaccine development process is also feared to be disrupted by this mutation.

To explore related Covid-19 virus mutations and vaccine development in Indonesia, Jakarta Newspapers interviewed the Minister of Research and Technology / Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency, Bambang Brodjonegoro. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Does this mutation also occur for viruses in Indonesia?

It should be noted that in vaccine development efforts there are studies that we do regularly, namely whole genome sequencing (WGS) whose aim is to find out the character of the Covid-19 virus. The results we convey to the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian flu Data ‘(GISAID) GSAID is the influenza data bank in the world that is tasked with collecting all flu viruses. A total of 24 WGS data from Indonesia is available in GSAID.

Nah, the mutation itself is true and the mutation has been around since January. The mutation that occurred was the presence of D614G in about 78 percent of the Covid-19 virus worldwide based on GSAID data collection.

In Indonesia, 9 out of 24 WGS contain these mutations. The details are 2 from Surabaya, 3 from Yogyakarta, 2 from Tangerang and Jakarta, 2 from Bandung.

To what extent does this mutation affect both clinical and treatment?

The president of GSAID said that there is no evidence that this mutation of the virus is more virulent and more dangerous. This D614G mutation is the same as the Covid-19 virus that we have experienced so far.

Even though there are mutations, people do not need to panic excessively, but remain vigilant. 3M activities, namely wearing masks, washing hands with soap and running water, and keeping traps need to be done.

Does this virus mutation affect vaccine development?

This effect of D614G will not interfere with vaccine development. This mutation does not cause changes in the structure or function of the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD), which is part of the spike virus that is the target of the vaccine. This means that domestic and foreign vaccine development efforts will not be disturbed by this D614G mutation.

It should also be emphasized that the existence of vaccines and drugs does not mean the end of the pandemic. Vaccines make us better prepared and able to face Covid-19.

How is the development of vaccines in Indonesia itself?

As we know, in the context of procuring vaccines in Indonesia, we are trying to develop vaccines quickly, effectively and independently. For our independence, we develop the Red and White vaccine and we plan to form a red and white vaccine consortium.

The definition of the Red and White vaccine is a vaccine whose vaccine seeds are researched and developed in Indonesia. Apart from the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (LBM), there are also UI, ITB, Unair, and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

The Eijkman Red and White Vaccine has 40 percent of the stages of all stages. Mammalian cells are being prepared and the end of the year animal testing can be finished. Early next year Eijkman can hand over vaccine seeds to Biofarma for production and start clinical trials for stages 1, 2, 3. In the third quarter of 2021. We hope we can produce the initial stages of red and white vaccine for public use.

Biofarma has collaborated with Sinovac, why do you still have to develop a vaccine independently?

Self-reliance is important because Indonesia is a country with a population of 260 million who all need vaccines. There is a possibility that if the vaccination is more than once, the need for the Covid-19 vaccine is needed for a number of over 300 to 400 million units or ampoules. n m. aden ma’ruf / P-4

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