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Highlights in the media today: Airlangga University, BIN, Indonesian Army claim to have developed “COVID-19 cure”, Researchers yet to find specific drug for COVID-19, Indonesia records biggest trade surplus since 2011.

Airlangga University Rector Muhammad Nasih claimed that the university, the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), and the Indonesian Army are currently developing “the first COVID-19 cure” in the world.

The partnership was aimed at producing new, effective combinations of existing medicines to ameliorate the chances of fighting the symptoms of COVID-19. He said that three combinations of medications had already undergone clinical trials.

However, Universitas Indonesia (UI) clinical microbiologist Maksum Radji warned the public not to get their hopes up until an official report on the remedies’ efficacy was released. He added that the combination of medications were not something new and had been included on the list of potential COVID-19 remedies undergoing clinical trials initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of August 19 16:10 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 144,945 COVID-19 cases, with 98,657 recoveries and 6,346 deaths.

Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) National Committee Member Anwar Santoso said on Tuesday (August 18) that the agency had not approved any “COVID-19 cure”. All medicines under research were still at the clinical trial phase.

He added that even the WHO had not issued any recommendation on any specific medicine for COVID-19.

Indonesia Society of Respirology Chairman Agus Dwi Susanto said that several professional medical organizations had agreed to issue management guidelines for COVID-19, that will be adopted by the Health Ministry. The guidelines include four medicine combinations allowed for COVID-19 patients with severe or critical conditions.

Indonesia has recorded its biggest trade surplus in nine years, as exports rose for a third consecutive month while demand for imports remained weak amid the ongoing pandemic.

Exports jumped 14.33% month-to-month (mom) in July to $13.73 billion, continuing an upward trend recorded since May, thanks to rising shipments of agriculture and manufactured goods despite the figure being 9.9% lower than in the same month last year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Tuesday (August 18).

Imports stood at $10.47 billion in July, 32.55% lower annually and2.73% lower than June, as domestic demand for consumption and raw materials remained subdued amid the pandemic.

The rise in exports and fall in imports have led to a $3.26 billion trade surplus.

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