Indonesia plans to start mass production of swine flu vaccine in November 2010 after a clininal trial in March 2010, health minister Endang Rahayu Setyaningsih said here on Monday.

“The new vaccines against H1N1 or A-H1N1 virus (swine flu virus that spreads from animals to humans ) will be mass-produced by PT Bio Farma,” she said.

She said when accompanying vice president Boediono at the launch of H1N1 and H5N1 seed vaccines at the Airlangga University campus in Surabaya that the production of the new H1N1 vaccine could cover 10 percent of the country`s population.

“In view of that distribution of free vaccines would be prioritized for workers treating swine flu or bird flu patients, mothers and children,” she said in the company of the president director of PT Bio Farma, Iskandar.

Regarding the production of bird flu virus she said it would be carried out early in 2011.
“What is clear is that the production will not be late because the virus mutates very rapidly and what needs to be done is mere replacing the strain,” she said.

Regarding the possibility for foreign researchers to use the result of the research the minister said that anyone had a right to conduct research.

“However with regard to the production we will conduct it by ourselves but with regard to the result of the research we certainly cannot keep it for ourselves,” she said.

Iskandar said that the mass production of H1N1 vaccine in November 2010 would be started with a clinical trial in March 2010.

“Later we will produce 27 million doses a year and will distribute them to the people free of charge, using funds totalling Rp1.3 trillion from the national budget for research activities in 2008 and 2009 and production in 2010 and 2011,” he said.

Regarding H5N1 vaccine production he said it would depend upon the government`s decision.

“For the time being we will only produce H1N1 virus but if requested we can produce the H5N1 vaccine immediately because the technology and devices for it are the same. We only have to change the H1N1 strain into H5N1 strain,” he said.

On the occasion Vice President Boediono inspected the Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory (BSL-3).

“The BSL-3 is the biggest and most sophisticated laboratory in Indonesia,” Boediono said after the inspection. — ANTARA