• February 4, 2023

EU Regulator Endorses AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

European doctors say approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine “will help bring the pandemic under control and protect EU citizens”. Ulrich Baumgarten / via Getty Images Hide caption

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Ulrich Baumgarten / via Getty Images

European doctors say approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine “will help bring the pandemic under control and protect EU citizens”.

Ulrich Baumgarten / via Getty Images

The European Union Medicines Agency recommends approving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine – the third vaccine it has recommended. The European Commission, The EU executive will now examine conditional approval for the vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency says the AstraZeneca vaccine should be approved to prevent the deadly coronavirus from affecting people who are at least 18 years old. The vaccine has been administered in the UK since earlier this month.

The EU will accelerate the approval process, which means that the new vaccine will likely soon be included in the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines already approved in the block. This could also help resolve supply bottlenecks that have hampered vaccination campaigns in Europe.

The vaccines “will all help bring the pandemic under control and protect EU citizens,” said EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke in a video briefing on the recommendation of their agency.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed with Oxford University, requires two doses, four to 12 weeks apart. In clinical studies, it has shown around 60% effectiveness in protecting people from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 European Medicines Agency.

“The overall safety and efficacy assessment was based on clinical studies involving 24,000 people,” said Bruno Sepodes, vice chairman of the Medicines Agency, referring to studies in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

“We will also receive additional data soon from a study that is currently ongoing in the US,” added Sepodes.

The AstraZeneca vaccine modifies another virus in the adenovirus family to include the gene used to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins – the crown-like studs that the coronavirus uses to break through cells and cause disease. After injecting the vaccine, cells use the gene to make the spike protein, which then triggers the immune system to provide protection from the coronavirus.

Since most of the people in the clinical trials are between 18 and 55 years old, it has been speculated that the EU might set a maximum age of 55 years for people receiving the vaccine.

The Medicines Agency recognized the lack of data on how people over 55 are protected by and tolerated by the vaccine. But it added, “Protection is expected, however, as an immune response is observed in this age group and is based on experience with other vaccines.”

The agency plans to analyze further information as soon as it comes from further studies.

The EU and AstraZeneca recently argued over the number of doses the block would receive after the company warned it wouldn’t send as much vaccine as it originally promised. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen answered with the words that the EU is spending billions on vaccines and expects pharmaceutical companies to hold back the end of the deal.

Despite the reduction, AstraZeneca said earlier this week it will continue to “send tens of millions of cans to the European Union in February and March as we continue to increase production volumes”.

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