Coronavirus live news: German lockdown could last up to 10 weeks; China locks down Langfang city | World news

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AstraZeneca has finally filed for approval of its Covid vaccine with the European Medicines Agency two weeks after it was given the go-ahead by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in the UK.

The EMA says it could come to a decision on 29 January if all the data it needs is supplied and all its questions are answered by the company.

The UK gave the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine emergency approval on 30 December. India has approved a version of the vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico and Morocco have also given emergency authorisation. But the world’s biggest regulatory bodies – the Food and Drug Administration in the USA and the EMA – are moving a lot more slowly.

The FDA is thought to want data from a big trial of about 30,000 people ongoing in the US before it considers approval. The existing data from trials in the UK, South Africa and Brazil left questions over the full extent of protection for older people and those from ethnic minority groups.

Because of the soaring numbers of infections in the US, it is possible that trial may soon come to conclusions.

AstraZeneca’s decision to officially seek approval from the EMA is likely to indicate that it hopes to be able to submit new data. At the beginning of January, the EMA’s deputy executive director Noel Wathion said that approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this month looked highly improbable because the company had yet to submit sufficient information.

Europe is also in need of many more vaccines. It has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines but supplies are going to fall far short of the needs of the bloc.





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Hello, I’m taking over from Sarah Marsh and will be with you for the next few hours. If you’d like to get in touch, your best bet’s probably Twitter, where I’m KevinJRawlinson.


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