Jakarta, BRIN Public Relations – The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) continues to strive to optimize the results of research and innovation in the health sector, especially in handling the pandemic. This was conveyed by Acting Head of the Vaccine and Drug Research Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Masteria Yunovilsa Putra when he was present as resource person at the Forum Group Discussion (FGD) titled Preparing Regional Policy Course in the Health Sector Anticipating Changes in the Development of Covid-19 Pandemic Status, which was held by the Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) of Central Java Province, Wednesday (6/4).

According to Masteria, BRIN has a Health Research Organization oversees 7 more specific Research Centers, one of which is the Vaccine and Drug Research Center. Currently, the Center is still trying to develop the merah putih vaccine, using various platforms such as MRNA, DNA, and recombinant proteins. “Independence in the supply of vaccine raw materials and biopharmaceutical products is a necessity for the Indonesian people,” he said.

For this reason, the Center cooperates with the pharmaceutical industry to produce vaccine independence. This is not only for Covid-19 vaccines, but also Dengue vaccine, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine including the vaccine that will soon be launching; the Tuberculosis (TBC) vaccine. “TB is actually the most common disease in Indonesia,” he said.

Masteria explained that the development of this vaccine is one of high technologies. The only industry that can make vaccines in Indonesia is biopharmaceuticals. Therefore, it is necessary to accelerate technology in vaccine development, so that it can be mass produced.

“One of challenges in health production is mastery of science and technology, in addition to high level of imported products, domination of foreign patents, our products not attractive to the industry, and non synchronization of focuses of the industry and researchers,” he said further.

Not only that, BRIN also conducts studies and research on traditional and modern medicines. Particularly, in the handling of covid, the Center has carried out clinical tests for immunomodulators with local ingredients such as creat, red ginger, gale leaves, and sambong leaves to produce one of immunomodulator products.

Masteria also added that BRIN does not focus only on making products, but most importantly on increasing the capacity of human resources and infrastructure. Hence with strong human resources, we can improve and catch up, especially in research and innovation in the health sector.

On the other hand, Representative of the Directorate General of Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health, Ira Sari, explained that even though Indonesia had successfully passed the wave of Covid-19 cases, there are still many things that need to be addressed, such as shortage of health worker human resources, medicines and medical devices that have not been produced independently, and so on.

According to him, although the trend of COVID-19 cases now is declining, there is also slack in the application of health protocols. Currently the transition from the pandemic to endemic is still await WHO, which is reviewed quarterly. “However, endemic does not mean safe, but there must still be control,” he said

The concept of disease prevention and control must still be applied by way of detection, prevention and response. “Detection of cases and efforts to detect new variants continue, while administering vaccinations,” he said.

Head of the Central Java Bappeda, Agung Tejo Prabowo, said that the pandemic has taught everyone a lesson. The Central Java Regional Government experiences a shock. For example, the budget side, the Center made adjustments to deal with covid by refocusing the budget.

“In 2020, we allocated a total of 1.8 trillion in budget for handling health and the economic impacts of the pandemic. The same was the case in 2021,” he said.

This Forum Group Discussion activity, continued Agung, is expected to serve as a brainstorming, in preparing recommendations for regional development planning, both in the medium and long term. Particularly in the health sector, especially in anticipating pandemics and future challenges.

“We get a mandate from the Governor to prepare the concept of future development planning, so as to be better prepared in facing future challenges, and to be better prepared in settling various problems that arise such as this pandemic,” he said. (jml)