by Keith Zahra
As part of the EU’s efforts to hasten the availability of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the European Parliament has adopted a regulation allowing such vaccines and treatments be developed more quickly.
Developing and deploying an effective and safe vaccine against the virus is the most likely permanent solution to stop the pandemic. To this end, the Commission has proposed an EU vaccines strategy for the pandemic including a temporary and strictly Covid-related derogation from certain rules for clinical trials.
Clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines are a time-consuming step before authorisation, as they need to be carried out in several member states to ensure that the populations for which the vaccines are intended are represented and in order to generate robust and conclusive data.
The derogation will facilitate the development, authorisation and consequently availability of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. In their debate last week, members of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety agreed to adapt the current rules but stressed that standards for vaccine quality, safety and efficacy must be maintained.