The ACCESS Consortium, an international coalition of regulatory authorities, has announced it will fast-track the approval of modified Covid-19 vaccines for new variants of the virus, avoiding the normal lengthy approval process.
In an announcement on Thursday, ACCESS Consortium revealed that it will fast-track any modified vaccines if manufacturers “provide robust evidence” to help get doses of effective jabs to the public quickly.
“Our priority is to get effective vaccines to the public in as short a time as possible, without compromising on safety,” MHRA’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Christian Schneider, said in a statement.
Addressing potential concerns that a faster regulatory process would impact the safety of the vaccines, the MHRA said that no vaccine would be approved unless it met the “high standards” of “quality and effectiveness” that are required.
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While existing vaccines were developed to protect against earlier forms of Covid-19, it is believed that they should still provide some protection against mutated forms of coronavirus, such as the Brazilian, Kent, or South African strains.
Countries, like the UK, already fast-track modified versions of the flu vaccine on an annual basis to ensure that it keeps up with the seasonal virus, so it’s expected that updated versions of the coronavirus vaccine would be approved using a similar process.
ACCESS Consortium was originally formed in 2007 by Australia, Canada, Singapore, and Switzerland to increase global cooperation to ensure patients have quick access to high quality, safe and effective medical products. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency joined in 2020.
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