The European Commission has presented this Wednesday a plan of more than 225 million euros to combat the new variants of covid-19: it plans to update and sign new contracts with pharmaceutical companies, accelerate the approval of vaccines, increase tests to detect the genome of the virus and collaborate with Israel and Switzerland in clinical trials.
Brussels has ensured that, “if necessary”, current contracts will have to be “updated” to adapt to protection against variants, given that pharmaceutical companies are analyzing the efficacy of their vaccines against the modifications of the virus that emerged in the United Kingdom , South Africa, Brazil and Uganda. And in this sense, the Community Executive has said that it is necessary to assume the “lessons learned” and guarantee that in the updates of the contracts they are specified in a “detailed and credible” plan on the production of the drugs, after the president Commissioner, Ursula Von der Leyen, publicly acknowledged that Brussels overestimated the manufacturing capacity of the laboratories.
Through the working group set up by the Commission to speed up production, Brussels will work with companies to identify the main bottlenecks that slow down the process and promote the voluntary exchange of patents between companies so that they can manufacture the vaccines of others. Business. In addition, the plan provides for the possibility of using “sources” from third countries if necessary, as long as they meet the security requirements of the European Union.
“Our priority is to ensure that all Europeans have access to safe and effective covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible,” said Von der Leyen, adding: “We have to adapt and respond even faster” to the emergence of the variants. The plan also contemplates that, for vaccines that have already been approved, the approval of the modifications that laboratories must introduce in their drugs to adapt to the variants be accelerated, without having to go through the entire review process to which they already have been previously submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The intention is to use the same approval mechanism that is used in the influenza vaccine, which has been proven effective for years. In order to combat the new variants, the Commission wants that at least in 5% of the tests with a positive result, the genome of the virus be sequenced to detect its modifications. It also wants to create a network of 16 European Union countries, together with Israel and Switzerland, to participate in new clinical trials.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.