By: Dedy Hidayat, Adhella Menur

Left to right: Aaron T. Neal, Herman Kosasih, Dewi Lokida, Jacqueline Perodin, Ray Chen, M. Karyana (2024)

From June 10 to 14, 2024, the INA-RESPOND Secretariat in Indonesia hosted distinguished representatives from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Leidos. This delegation, which included Ray Chen and Aaron T. Neal from NIAID and Jackie Perodin from Leidos, held a series of high-level meetings, site visits, and scientific discussions aimed at strengthening US-Indonesian collaboration in infectious disease research and healthcare policy.
The visit began on June 10, 2024, with a high-level meeting between the Directorate General for Health Services (DG YanKes) and the Director of the Health Policy Agency (BKPK) at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia. Several important topics were covered at this meeting, including updates on Indonesia’s Clinical Research Center-Clinical Research Unit (CRC-CRU) system, the MTA Committee and National IRB, and the Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA) template for multicenter studies. The NIAID delegation introduced the NIH and its various centers, emphasizing that collaboration can take place with any appropriate center within the NIH. The delegation also shared experiences of collaboration through the INA-RESPOND network. The discussion also included a high-level government-to-government agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/NIH, which will maintain the current S&T Agreement.

On Tuesday morning, June 11, 2024, the NIAID delegation visited BB Binomika and the BGSi Eijk-man lab for a comprehensive tour and presentation. During the tour, the delegation was briefed on BB Binomika’s research capabilities and its openness to collaboration with universities, industries, and the public. Additionally, NIAID introduced the VirCapSeq-VERT system, which is designed for detecting and differentiating RNA and DNA virus strains in complex samples, including clinical specimens. This non-targeted system is useful for infectious disease surveillance and pathogen identification, with Columbia University suggested as a potential site for capacity building, allowing for further study of samples.

Later that day, the NIAID and INA-RESPOND Secretariat delegations visited RS Penyakit Infeksi Sulianti Saro-so (RSPI) to engage in discussions with the RSPI team. The following day, June 12, 2024, the NIAID team focused on sharing experiences and insights related to infectious disease research, enhancing the collaborative spirit between the institutions.

Visit to BGSi Eijkman lab—June 11, 2024

June 13, 2024, was dedicated to a full day of scientific discussions, particularly focusing on the preparation of several PROACTIVE manuscripts. This session was attended by notable figures, including Prof. dr. Ketut Tuti Merati, Sp.PD-KPTI, dr. Dina Muktiarti, Sp.A (K), and dr. Dewi Lokida, Sp.PK (K). A follow-up discussion between INA-RESPOND and BB Binomika also occurred, where several key points were discussed, such as the new INA-RESPOND Implementing Arrangement (IA) between NIAID and DG Yankes and NIAID’s role. The day was also marked by a small and intimate celebration of the birthday of dr. Dewi, Sp.PK, the Head of the INA-RESPOND Reference Laboratory.

The visit continued on June 14, 2024, with a staff meeting that included all INA-RESPOND Secretariat staff. This meeting aimed to engage the staff in discussions about the challenges and aspirations for the future of the INA-RESPOND network. Later that day, Ray and Jackie departed for the United States, while Aaron delivered a lecture at the National Brain Hospital (Rumah Sakit Pusat Otak Nasional / RS PON) in East Jakarta.

On June 15, 2024, Aaron visited the INA-RESPOND Reference Laboratory at RSU Kabupaten Tange-rang. The purpose of this visit was to discuss laboratory work and future plans, further solidifying the commitment to advancing research collaboration.

The NIAID and Leidos delegation’s visit to the INA-RESPOND Secretariat in Indonesia was a resounding achievement, demonstrating the value of international collaboration in advancing health research and policy. The meetings, discussions, and site visits not only strengthened existing partnerships, but also laid the groundwork for future collaborative projects. Over the past 14 years, collaboration between NIAID and INA-RESPOND has been marked by many challenging yet beneficial and joyful experiences, fostering a strong and enduring partnership. NIAID, as a dedicated partner, shares our vision of improving infectious disease research to contribute to global public health. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for the collaboration and the endless support, which have been instrumental in our shared successes and ongoing efforts to address critical health challenges worldwide.

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