Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) inspects coronavirus vaccine trials in Bandung, Indonesia, on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Indonesian Presidential Palace/EPA-EFE
Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Chinese COVID-19 vaccine producer Sinovac Biotech has begun late-stage clinical trials of a vaccine in Indonesia in partnership with Indonesia's state-owned pharmaceutical firm PT Bio Farma.
The third phase of the vaccine test began Tuesday and is to involve as many as 1,620 volunteers in Indonesia, according to Turkish news service TRT World and Xinhua news agency.
A ceremony for the clinical trials was held in the hospital of Padjajaran University's School of Medicine in Bandung, West Java, where Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was in attendance.
Widodo had said in July Indonesia plans to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Sinovac. Production would begin between January and April 2021, the Indonesian leader said.
Indonesia has confirmed more than 127,000 cases of the novel coronavirus. Jakarta is aiming to produce 250 million doses of an effective vaccine; the population of the country is about 270 million.
"The threat of COVID-19 will not subside until a vaccine is given to all the people," Widodo said Tuesday.
The third phase of trials are beginning a day after Sinovac disclosed details from Phase 2 tests. According to the firm on Monday, the trial vaccine appears to be safe, and led to a discernible antibody-based immune response in test subjects, according to TRT World.
If Phase 3 trials are successful, mass production of the vaccine is expected to begin in Indonesia.
According to Sinovac, Phase 2 tests were conducted on 600 volunteers in China. The firm also said on July 21 Phase 3 trials began in Brazil, involving more than 9,000 patients. Sinovac's Phase 3 trials will also take place in Bangladesh, according to reports.