Indonesia to begin local production of Covid-19 antiviral pills soon

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JAKARTA – Indonesia is targeting to start local production of two COVID-19 antiviral pills, Molnupiravir and Paxlovid, in April or May this year in order to guarantee the availability of the medicines during the pandemic.

“The government continues to ensure adequate domestic supply of COVID-19 medicines to anticipate waves of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said the government’s COVID-19 task force spokeswoman Reisa Broto Asmoro in a virtual press conference today.

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The government has secured 400,000 tablets of Molnupiravir to treat COVID-19 through Indian generic drugmakers, PT Amarox Pharma Global.

Molnupiravir, developed by Merck & Co and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, and Paxlovid by Pfizer, will be produced by PT Amarox Pharma Global’s plant in Bekasi district.

The antiviral pill works by introducing errors into the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ genetic code and prevents the virus from further replicating.

The world’s fourth most populous nation is seeing record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant in recent weeks.

The total number of Omicron cases mounted to 882 cases as of Jan 14, with the recovery of 276 patients today, Reisa said.

Indonesia reported 1,362 COVID-19 cases on Jan 18 – its highest daily number since mid-Oct 2021.