By Kate Lamb and Stanley Widianto

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has approved private research of COVID-19 vaccine candidate Nusantara that is backed by a former health minister, after recently saying a mid-stage trial for it could not proceed amid safety and data integrity issues.

Just this month, Indonesia’s drug and food agency (BPOM) said approval for a Phase II trial for the vaccine, developed by local firm PT Rama Emerald Multi Sukses and America’s Aivita Biomedical, would not be granted as its sponsors had failed to fulfil Phase I clinical trial requirements.

The nod for private research comes amid mounting political pressure to approve the trial for the vaccine, which is backed by former minister Terawan Agus Putranto who enjoys the support of some in Indonesia’s political and

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