Jakarta, CNN Indonesia - Minister of Research and Technology / Head of National Agency for Research and Innovation, Bambang Brodjonegoro, stated that a vaccine is needed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic due to the SARS-CoV-2 corona virus infection.
This was revealed by Bambang in response to the possibility that Indonesia could be free from the Covid-19 pandemic without a vaccine as previously occurred during the SARS and MERS countermeasures.
Because, Bambang reasoned that the Covid-19 pandemic was different from the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
"The Covid-19 virus will be with humanity for a long time. In order to have mass immunity, vaccines need to be assisted," Bambang told CNNIndonesia.com, Monday (14/9).
Bambang said facing the Covid-19 pandemic was not enough by relying on endurance or with the help of supplements, vitamins, exercise, and others. He said the response to the Covid-19 pandemic still needed a vaccine.
One proof of the need for a vaccine to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, could be seen from all countries that are trying to develop a vaccine. In fact, he emphasized that China, which was the first country where the SARS-CoV-2 corona virus was found, was very active in developing a vaccine.
Furthermore, Bambang said that a special Covid-19 vaccine was needed considering the current flu vaccine still needed to be updated. Although he did not specify, he said the flu vaccine update was carried out at a certain period.
He also reminded that the SARS-CooV-2 corona virus is very contagious and dangerous for health workers and those with congenital diseases.
"It should be noted that although the rate of Covid fatalities is relatively low, it is highly contagious and dangerous for those who are exposed to the virus in large numbers," he said.
Bambang added that using masks, washing hands, and maintaining distance (3M) are efforts to prevent transmission. Meanwhile, testing, tracing, and isolation (3) is to prevent fatalities.
"Both (3M and 3T) must be equipped with vaccines to strengthen immunity along with supplements, vitamins, and others," said Bambang.
Previously, molecular biologist Ahmad Rusdan Handoyo believed Indonesia could be free from the Covid-19 corona virus pandemic without having to wait for vaccines or drugs. He said this was because vaccines and drugs were still taking a long time.
The key to breaking the chain of the Covid-19 pandemic is in a combination of 3T (testing, tracing and treatment) and 3M (wearing a mask, maintaining distance and washing hands).
This key must also be supported by a lockdown policy or Large-Scale Sector Restrictions (PSBB) which must be obeyed by the community to stop mobility which is a factor in the spread of Covid-19.
"A combination of 3T, 3M and in quotes lockdown. Because clinical trials of vaccines are not necessarily successful, it needs anticipatory steps," Ahmad said when contacted by CNNIndonesia.com, Sunday (13/9).
Ahmad said the SARS and MERS pandemics caused by a corona virus which is similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be resolved without vaccines and drugs. This is because both pandemics ended before clinical trials were completed.
However, it should be remembered that SARS and MERS are quite easy to identify because they cause symptoms for an infected person.
So that the authorities can easily isolate these sufferers. On the other hand, many Covid-19 patients do not cause symptoms at all.
"The point is that controlling the SARS and MERS outbreaks is easy because it is quite focused on symptomatic ones," said Ahmad.
Ahmad explained why SARS and MERS patients can cause symptoms while many Covid-19 patients don't cause symptoms.
According to Ahmad, the SARS-CoV-2 virus prefers to infect the upper airways, such as the nasal cavity, pharynx, and larynx as a place to replicate. This results in the infected person causing no symptoms.
Even though there are symptoms, Ahmad said many people do not realize it because they are just flu symptoms such as a little runny nose and sneezing.
"Infection of the upper respiratory cavity does not cause shortness of breath. The impact because it replicates in the upper cavity is a symptom that doesn't seem so severe. In fact, 80 percent of people have no or very mild symptoms, but once they reach the lungs, they start to show symptoms," said Ahmad.