Indonesia

Case Study: New rotavirus vaccine enters manufacturing

Bio Farma, Indonesia’s national vaccine company, is completing a phase 1 trial of a new rotavirus vaccine invented in Melbourne and has started pilot manufacture of the vaccine. Licencing trials are next, followed hopefully by release of the new vaccine in 2021.

The project is the culmination of a 42-year partnership between Melbourne and Gadjah Mada University which started after Ruth Bishop and colleagues found a virus, now known as rotavirus, in babies at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. They showed it was the cause of an acute gastroenteritis that was hospitalising 10,000 Australian children every year and killing more than half a million children worldwide. [continue reading…]

New rotavirus vaccine could benefit millions of children

A rotavirus vaccine that can be given days after birth has been developed by Australian and Indonesian researchers.

Rotavirus is the common cause  of severe diarrhoea and a killer of approximately 215,000 children under five globally each year.

The oral vaccine, called RV3-BB, was given in three single doses, the first within five days of birth. Until now, the vaccine against rotavirus was available in Australia and only on the private market in Indonesia, and could only be administered from six weeks of age.

After three doses of RV3-BB administered from birth:

  • 94 per cent of infants were protected in their first year of life against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis
  • 75 per cent of infants were protected to 18 months of age.

The success of the RV3-BB vaccine is the culmination of more than four decades of work, which started with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Professor Ruth Bishop and the discovery of rotavirus in 1973.

The trial was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PT BioFarma.

Read the full media release on the MCRI website.

Read an earlier story on the work in our Stories of Indonesia-Australia Innovation collection from 2016.

Smarter electrification: providing energy isn’t enough 

Four years ago life in Pulau Bau, a village on a tiny island off North Maluku in Indonesia, was transformed. The community was supplied with electricity via small-scale diesel generators and a state-of-the-art solar energy system with battery backup.

Every house was receiving some electricity—not a lot, but some. But early in 2017 the system broke down, and the cost to repair it (equivalent to AUD$20,000) was beyond the budget of the community.

The Indonesian government is committed to providing energy to all citizens by 2020. It isn’t going to be easy for a 5,150km-long archipelago where more than 65 million people, many in remote communities, currently go without.

An Australia-Indonesia Centre project is working to identify the opportunities and challenges in meeting the real needs of these communities.Technology alone won’t deliver. The solutions will need to be tailored to community aspirations, and be resilient so they keep working when the engineers go home.

[continue reading…]

Radar-in-a-suitcase makes bridges safer

Assessing ageing bridges just got safer and easier, thanks to a high-tech radar device that fits inside a suitcase.

Developed by Dr Lihai Zhang of The University of Melbourne as part of a collaborative research project supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, the IBIS-S radar technology can scan a bridge in 15 minutes from a kilometre away with an accuracy of 0.01mm, quickly assessing its condition and stability.

[continue reading…]

Detecting high risk pregnancies in Indonesia

Women in Indonesia were 21 times more likely to die from childbirth than women in Australia in 2015. Many pregnant women in Indonesia, particularly in remote areas, do not regularly visit health clinics and so complications are not detected and dealt with early enough.

[continue reading…]

Ports that work; saving children’s lives; water smart cities and more

Aus indo logoToday in Surabaya, the 3rd Indonesia-Australia Research Summit with research to change lives including:

  • Making ports that work with rail, road, and the surrounding communities
  • Could vitamin D reduce child deaths?
  • Designing the coolest and most energy-efficient tropical houses
  • What do children learn about diet and nutrition on the street: from advertising to school posters and street rubbish?
  • How do island and remote communities change with access to 24/7 power?

These are some of the challenges being tackled by researchers from 11 Indonesian and Australian universities meeting today and tomorrow in Surabaya for the 3rd Indonesia-Australia Research Summit.

[continue reading…]

Indonesian and Australian scientists test new TB vaccine targets for the TB fight in Indonesia and Australia

World TB Day on March 24 reminds us of the growing TB threat

Scientists available for interview in English and Bahasa Indonesia for World TB Day. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
More images below.

Better vaccines are needed for the global fight against tuberculosis (TB). The Global Fund reports an estimated nine million new cases globally per year of TB, which is second only to AIDS as the world’s most deadly infectious disease. Indonesia had more than 320,000 reported cases in 2014 according to the World Health Organization, while Australia’s reported cases were just over 1,000. But the rise of drug-resistant TB poses a threat to all countries.

Two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium have shown promising results in investigations in mice for a new vaccine. Scientists from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney, with colleagues at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, have found that the injected proteins can prime the immune system to induce protection against TB in mice.

The team has established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if the two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Credit: Centenary Institute

The team has established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if the two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Credit: Centenary Institute

[continue reading…]

Power to the islands

Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below. 

View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here. Or read about the other collaborative research projects announced with the opening of the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali on Thursday 11 Feb.

Over sixty-five million Indonesians live off the grid. But what does that mean in the era of micro-grids, batteries and efficient solar panels? And how do communities change with 24/7 energy?
Providing reliable electric power is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of the remote islands and landlocked areas of Indonesia and of Australia’s north, a priority for both countries.
How do communities change with 24/7 energy? Indonesian and Australian scientists are working to find out. Credit: Max Richter

How do communities change with 24/7 energy? Indonesian and Australian scientists have study sites, including villages in the Kai Islands, to find out. Credit: Max Richter

[continue reading…]

Power to the people

Indonesia and Australia to research delivering power to remote communities and to grow cities

View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here.

Announcing a portfolio of research projects:

  • To bring sustainable energy to remote communities.
  • To increase the reliability of Indonesia’s urban power.
  • To guide Indonesia as it boosts its electricity generating capacity by 70 per cent.
  • To help Australia decarbonise/move away from coal.
  • Trials in Borneo and Kai Besar (off West Papua).

Researchers available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below.

Today the Indonesian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Sudirman Said, will open the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali, with Australia to be an important partner in the Centre’s new activities.
Local and national projects assessing clean energy options are underway by Indonesian and Australian scientists. Credit: Max Richter

Local and national projects assessing clean energy options are underway by Indonesian and Australian scientists. Credit: Max Richter

[continue reading…]

Putting a window and lasers in a ship’s hull

Melbourne and Indonesian scientists work to improve shipping efficiency

Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Video overlay and photos of ferry available below.

Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.

Every shipping manager wages an endless battle against fouling – the bacteria, seaweed, barnacles and other marine life that take residence on the hull of ships. This biofouling is thought to add more than 20 per cent to the fuel costs of commercial shipping. That’s a big cost for the maritime trading nations of Australia and Indonesia.

Using lasers and a window in a ship’s hull, researchers will assess how quickly the efficiency of the ship declines, and then how to balance fuel efficiency and the cost of putting a ship in dry dock to clean it.

A ship travelling between Java and South Samatra has had 30 centimetre windows installed in its hull for the research. Credit: Nadia Astari

A ship travelling between Java and South Samatra has had 30 centimetre windows installed in its hull for the research. Credit: Nadia Astari

[continue reading…]