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Jakarta Post

After questioning Terawan's vaccine, drug regulator faces political pressure

The Jakarta Post Image
Elderly people await pre-COVID-19 vaccination screenings at a community health center in Palmerah, West Jakarta, on Feb 25.(JP/Ardila Syakriah)
Ardila Syakriah
Jakarta   ●   Thu, March 11, 2021

After questioning the data and rigor of the initial trials of a candidate vaccine backed by former health minister Terawan Agus Putranto, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has faced increased political pressure to allow the controversial jab to enter mid-stage trials.

Terawan began his efforts to develop the vaccine, called Nusantara, while he was in office last year. The Health Ministry was touted as a sponsor, alongside American biotechnology firm AIVITA Biomedical and Gresik-based pharmaceutical company Rama Emerald Multi Sukses in East Java.

The candidate vaccine employs a unique mechanism. It is tailored to each recipient through the use of their own antigen-presenting dendritic cells. Such cells have been used in cancer therapies.

“Since 2015, I have been personally developing dendritic cell-based vaccines at the Cell Cure Center of t...

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