Modified Covid-19 vaccines for variants to be fast-tracked in five countries

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Mar 04, 2021, 07.16 PM(IST)

Covid vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The guidelines build on the model already used to modify the flu vaccine in response to continual changes in that virus.

The development of Covid-19 vaccines that have been modified to tackle new variants of the disease will be fast-tracked in five countries.

These vaccines will not need a brand new approval or “lengthy" clinical studies, said ACCESS Consortium, a coalition of regulatory authorities from the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland.

This would significantly reduce the length of time taken for the modified vaccine to be ready for use.

The guidelines build on the model already used to modify the flu vaccine in response to continual changes in that virus.

Under the new rules, developers will be required to provide “robust evidence” that modified Covid-19 vaccines produce a strong immune response to the variant, as well as data showing they are safe and meet quality standards.

“Our priority is to get effective vaccines to the public in as short a time as possible, without compromising on safety,” Dr Christian Schneider, the MHRA's chief scientific officer said in a statement. “Should any modifications to authorized Covid-19 vaccines be necessary, this regulatory approach should do that.”

The announcement comes amid concerns that a variant first discovered in Brazil may be more resistant to existing vaccines than other variants. The UK has banned direct flights from 33 countries to prevent variants of concern from becoming established in Britain.

(With inputs from agencies)

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