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Home >News >World >UK starts accelerated review for AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine: Report

As Britain gets ready to approve first successful shot of a potential Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, AstraZeneca Plc said on Sunday that UK's health regulator had started an accelerated review of its vaccine candidate against novel coronavirus, according to a report.

"We confirm the MHRA's (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) rolling review of our potential COVID-19 vaccine," an AstraZeneca spokesman said, reported Reuters.

Rolling reviews allow regulators to see clinical data in real time and have discussions with companies about ongoing trials and manufacturing processes so that approvals can be granted more quickly. The approach is designed to speed up access to drugs and vaccines when there is a public health need.

The move supports the UK’s plans to potentially move ahead of the European Union on clearing a vaccine.

The start of the rolling review means that the committee has started evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, which come from laboratory studies (non-clinical data). This does not mean that a conclusion can be reached yet on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, as much of the evidence is still to be submitted to the committee.

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is being developed along with the University of Oxford. Earlier, The U.K.’s drug regulator started accelerated reviews of Covid-19 vaccines under development from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc, reported Bloomberg.

AstraZeneca and Pfizer are among the frontrunners in the race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, with the race also including Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc. Their vaccine candidates are in late-stage trials, interim data from which are expected in the coming weeks.

The British drug maker said on Monday its COVID-19 experimental vaccine produces an immune response in both old and young adults. The vaccine also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, it said.

Work began on the Oxford vaccine in January. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.

Meanwhile, amid the rising Covid-19 cases in the country, a new national lockdown in England may have to last longer than the planned four weeks if coronavirus infection rates don’t fall quickly enough, a senior government minister said Sunday.

The lockdown announced Saturday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to run from Thursday until Dec. 2. Johnson says it's needed to stop hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients within weeks.

Britain has the worst virus death toll in Europe, with over 46,500 dead, and it passed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday.

With agency inputs

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