National Seminar SBE UISC 2020
"Roadmap to Coronavirus Vaccines: Development and Mitigation in Indonesia"
This National Seminar organized by SBE UISC has taken place on Saturday, September 19, 2020 through online zoom platform and the YouTube live. This seminar was attended by reliable speakers from THE COVID-19 Task Force, PT Bio Farma, and researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Indonesia. This seminar was moderated by Dr. Kenny Lischer S.T., M.T. as the faculty advisor SBE UI SC.
The seminar was opened with a speech by Prof.Dr. Ir. Asep Handaya Saputra, M. Eng. as Chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering University of Indonesia who conveyed the importance of the role of Bioprocess engineering in the development of COVID-19 vaccines in the production and distribution of vaccines, especially after the vaccine has been completed clinically tested.
The first session was hosted by dr. Budi Santoso, M. Res and Thifal Kiasatina, S.K.M as Covid-19 Task Force Expert Team Staff with the theme of COVID-19 Strategy and Handling Targets in Indonesia. Dr. Budi Santoso, M. Res in his presentation said that COVID-19 currently hitting Indonesia even the whole world is not the first time, if seen from the pattern in a few years there are always infectious diseases that attack humans, such as H7N9 cases (total 1,565 cases), MERS-CoV (total cases 2,494,000), A(H1N1) pdm09 (total cases 60.8 million, 17,798 dead), G4 EA H1N1 (between 2016 and 2018).
As it is known that the first case of COVID-19 is believed to have come from bats (horseshoe bat). However, how this interspecies transmission process can occur, until now is still in the process of research. Several hypotheses are circulating, but this massive contagion is the result of human to human transmission. Even so, dr. Budi Santoso, M. Res still advises to limit contact with animals and if such contact should be made as much as possible to maintain self-hygiene.
The vaccine, which is currently in phase 3 clinical trials, is what many countries are looking forward to. However, with the number expected to be very limited, the government will have to score areas to set vaccination priorities to the community. Therefore, today people are expected to maintain a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity and follow existing health protocols, even after the vaccine has been released. This was conveyed by Thifal Kiasatina, S.K.M in her session. She also said that collaboration together is key to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a society, we have an obligation to jointly fade the negative stigma circulating, seek credible COVID-19 information, be honest and sportsmanlike when identifying close contacts by officers, and make self-contact tracing efforts by recording travel history, contacts, and symptoms experienced as well as the duration of time.
The seminar was followed by a presentation from researchers and lecturers in the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Indonesia, Namely Dr. Eng Muhammad Sahlan S.Si, M.Eng. He presented material on "The Role of Bioprocessing Engineers in the Development of COVID-19 Vaccines".
He said that the most important thing in the manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine is RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) virus because RBD initiates viral infection to the body's cells. This causes the majority of vaccines developed to contain RBD in the form of proteins, peptides, as well as RNA and DNA such as the Live Attenuated Vaccine, a vaccine that uses a live virus that has been weakened, Recombinant Viral Vectors, a vaccine that uses other viruses that have infiltrated the genetic material of the desired virus, among others.
He also said that the role of bioprocessing in vaccine manufacturing could be performed at the Upstream stage (media preparation, filtration, and cell culture in bioreactors), harvesting, and Downstream (separation, purification, finishing, bulk storage, and packaging). The most important thing in this process is the willingness of the cell/seed. This is a challenge for bioprocess engineers to make and/or shape the seed.
A further session was presented by Dr. Neni Nurainy, S.Si, Apt. regarding the Development and Capacity Building of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine in Indonesia. Before explaining the conditions in Indonesia, it was explained in advance that in preparing the world for pandemics, WHO has created a blueprint to review which pathogens have the potential to cause pandemics.
Dr. Neni also said that the development of vaccines should be done consistently. One of them is the cultivation done in a large fermentor to be useful for many communities. In outbreaks and pandemics, there are various challenges of vaccine development especially in terms of speed/time, costs are quite high, no warranty will be used routinely (temporary), and require consortium /global fund. It is also a challenge to produce large amounts in a short time.
She also states that PT Bio Farma is currently conducting a collaboration with Sinovac that begins with the delivery of the Sinovac vaccine which is in clinical trial phase 3 (August 2020 - September 2021). Targeted at the end of January 2021 already made EUA submissions to BPOM and after that will be produced regularly by PT Bio Farma. In addition to PT Bio Farma, Indonesia also relies on Sinopharm (China, via GT42), as well as Kalbe Farma (in cooperation with Genexine Korea) to accelerate vaccine supply in Indonesia.
The seminar was then followed by a discussion and Q&A session with the four speakers and ended with a joint photo session. Summaries for a more detailed seminar and Q&A sessions can be accessed via http://bit.ly/SBESemnasReview and can be rewatched down below