AS the COVID-19 cases across Indonesia have surged past the one million mark and the contagiousness of the disease continues to severely disrupt the economy, the need for mass market testing becomes apparent.
In light of this, Achiko AG and PT Indonesia Farma Medis (PIFM) signed an agreement to establish a joint venture company known as PT Achiko Medika Indonesia (PAMI), which will focus on producing, distributing and marketing its testing platform developed from Project Gumnuts for Indonesia.
“The economy needs to find a way to function, but given the size and population of Indonesia, reliance on PCR testing is not enough. Additional testing methods for COVID-19 are needed and we believe the Project Gumnuts technology is a key solution to help the country and the economy get back on their feet,” explained PIFM CEO Khairudin Gustam.
Phase 1 testing for Project Gumnuts has been concluded recently, achieving preliminary values of 91% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Further optimisation studies are currently being conducted in Spain and Indonesia to meet the World Health Organisations’ (WHO) standards.
“Most low-cost rapid tests are too expensive for daily testing, but the price point and convenience that Gumnuts can offer will enable tens of millions of people the ability to test almost every day. This will be a powerful tool in stopping the spread and beating COVID-19 and other pathogens,” said the Indonesia’s Pekanbaru mayor Dr. H. Firdaus S.T.
Under the agreement, PIFM and Achiko will jointly manufacture and assemble Project Gumnuts test kits for the Indonesian market, with PIFM tasked with the distribution and marketing, and Achiko earning a 10% licensing fee from gross sales.
As new tests are developed, they will be similarly assembled and sold in the country.
Next steps see the completion of regulatory approvals, getting the technology into test kits and moving them into the market as soon as practicable.
Being a country of over 270 million people spread across several thousand islands, Indonesia is currently recording the highest number of cases, rates of positivity and fatality rates in Southeast Asia. – Feb 12, 2021