THE UK and Spain could see approval for a coronavirus vaccine in a year, according to a European Union medical group.
The European Medicines Agency approves medicines for EU countries and says that in an “optimistic” scenario, vaccines against Covid-19 could get the green light in 12 months time.
The EU fear though is not having enough supplies, especially if a vaccine were developed in the United States or China.
The European Medicines Agency, in communication with 33 developers, was doing all it could to speed up the approval process, the EMA’s head of vaccines, Marco Cavaleri, said, but he was sceptical of claims any could be ready by September.
“For vaccines, since the development has to start from scratch … we might look from an optimistic side in a year from now, so beginning of 2021,” he told journalists.
He ruled out the possibility of skipping the third phase of a vaccine trial, which he said would be needed to be sure a vaccine was safe and effective.
The EMA is also looking at 115 different therapeutics, or treatments, for the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 300,000 deaths globally, according to World Health Organisation figures.
Cavaleri said some of those therapeutics could be approved in Europe as early as this summer, but he did not specify which.
A leading EU politician said that the European Union should circumvent pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property rights if a vaccine were developed outside the region.
“If a vaccine is first developed outside Europe, we must do everything possible to ensure that the vaccine is actually available to all countries,” said Peter Liese, who is a key member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, the same as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s.
“We are counting on dialogue and cooperation, but we must also expect others to reject dialogue and cooperation. This is why we need a plan B”, added Liese.