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The European Medicines Agency announced on Monday that it could approve the first coronavirus vaccines later this year or early next year as it evaluates the most promising candidates.

The clarification came after EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week that the watchdog could give the green light to vaccines tested by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna before the end of December.

“It is difficult to predict vaccine approval deadlines at this precise point in time as the data is still arriving and ongoing reviews are ongoing,” the European Medicines Agency said in a statement emailed to AFP.

“Depending on how the evaluation progresses, the EMA might actually be able to complete the evaluation for the most advanced candidates towards the end of this year or early next year.”

The Amsterdam-based EMA is conducting “ongoing reviews” to reduce vaccine approval times for three candidates: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford University-AstraZeneca.

US giant Pfizer and German company BioNTech have already sent data to the EMA after the companies showed in clinical trials that their experimental vaccine was 95 percent effective.

US-based Moderna says its vaccine is 94.5 percent effective, and Oxford and AstraZeneca announced on Monday that their vaccine is 70 percent effective, increasing to 90 percent depending on the type of dosage.

Several European countries have already put forward strategies to introduce coronavirus vaccines in large parts of their populations once they have been approved by the EMA.

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© 2020 AFP

Quote: The EU regulator could approve Covid vaccines in late 2020, early 2021 (2020, November 23rd) to be released on November 23, 2020 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-eu-covid-vaccines- late-early.html

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