LONDON (AP) – Regulators in the UK and four other countries plan to quickly reverse the development of COVID-19 modified vaccines to ensure that drug manufacturers can move quickly towards disease-causing variants.
Previously approved vaccines that have been modified to target new variants “will not require” brand new approval or “lengthy” clinical trials, “said a statement from the UK’s Drugs and Drug Administration.
The new guidelines were issued jointly by regulators in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland. The guidelines are based on a model that has already been used to modify the flu vaccine in response to ongoing changes in the virus.
Under the new rules, developers will require “solid evidence” that Modified COVID-19 vaccines provide a strong immune response to the variant, as well as data showing that they are safe and meet quality standards.
“Our priority is to deliver effective vaccines to the public as soon as possible without compromising safety,” said Dr. Christian Schneider, MHRA’s Chief Scientific Officer. “If any changes to COVID-19 vaccines are needed, this regulatory approach should do so.”
The announcement comes amid concerns that the version first discovered in Brazil may be more resistant to existing vaccines than other versions. The UK has banned direct flights from 33 countries in a bid to prevent the introduction of worrying options in Britain.