UK regulators start accelerated review of potential AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
BRAZIL - 2020/10/04: In this photo illustration a medical syringe is seen with AstraZeneca company logo displayed on a screen in the background. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
AstraZeneca's vaccine is being developed in association with the University of Oxford. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The UK is edging closer to a COVID-19 solution, as its health regulator said on Sunday it would begin an accelerated review of Astrazeneca’s (AZN) potential coronavirus vaccine.

A spokesman for the company said: “We confirm the MHRA’s (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) rolling review of our potential COVID-19 vaccine.”

Regulators will look at clinical data in real time, engaging in a dialogue with the company on manufacturing and the trials in order to speed up the approval and delivery process.

AstraZeneca is among other healthcare giants that are racing to produce a vaccine, which could help tackle the pandemic. Pfizer’s (PFE) offering will also be under accelerated review, according to reports from Bloomberg on Friday.

Its vaccine is being developed in association with the University of Oxford.

The news shows progress is being made in measures to combat the coronavirus. Positive vaccine news usually leads to optimism in the stock market as investors look to a return to relative normality in the economy.

Any working drug could be a game changer as people around the world continue to die as a result of the virus.

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The UK trial news comes following reports last week that AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are gearing up to resume trials in the US.

AstraZeneca (AZN) has gained approval by regulators to resume the trial of its experimental vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is gearing up to continue its trial on Monday or Tuesday, the companies said.

AstraZeneca said on Monday that its COVID-19 experimental vaccine produces an immune response in different age groups, and that it hopes the vaccine will be ready for limited use in the coming months.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the company said: “We anticipate efficacy read-outs from phase 2/3 trials between now and the end of the year, and if approved within countries, doses of the potential vaccine could be available for use before the end of the year.”

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