A woman receives the second component of the Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) COVID-19 vaccine.
Valentin Sprinchak | TASS | Getty Images
LONDON – The European Medicines Agency announced Thursday that it will begin assessing the Russian coronavirus sting Sputnik V as the block aims to speed up its vaccination program.
“The EMA will assess compliance with the usual EU standards for effectiveness, safety and quality by Sputnik V. While the EMA cannot predict the overall deadlines, the evaluation of a possible application should take less time than normal,” it says in one Declaration by the regulator.
The EMA uses an ongoing review to examine the data for the sting developed in Russia. This will allow the European Medical Authority to assess its effectiveness as it will have all the information it needs before the vaccine manufacturer can apply for formal approval. By analyzing the studies before submitting the application, the potential EMA approval could come faster than usual.
The news comes after some European countries announced they would be giving Sputnik V bypassing the regulator. Slovakia and Hungary have already ordered doses of the Russian sting, while the Czech Republic and Austria are considering the vaccine.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in January that she was “open” to the idea of producing Russia’s coronavirus vaccine in the European Union.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, asked in February why Russia is offering so many of its vaccines when its own population has not yet been fully vaccinated.
“Overall, I have to say that we are still wondering why Russia is theoretically offering millions and billions of doses while vaccinating its own people has not progressed sufficiently,” she said. “This is also a question that I think should be answered,” she added Politico.
European countries are under pressure to accelerate the adoption of Covid shocks as their program lags well behind other parts of the world such as Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The region is still largely closed due to social restrictions, which has a negative impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods.
Austria and Denmark recently partnered with Israel to manufacture second generation vaccines to treat variants of Covid-19. At the time of the announcement, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz mentioned that the EMA had approved vaccines to combat the pandemic too slowly.
The facility has approved three vaccines to date: Pfizer’s, AstraZeneca’s, and Moderna’s.
In addition, European countries have criticized pharmaceutical companies for some hurdles in manufacturing and supplying the vaccines.
The European nations have agreed that coordinated action is the best way to address the health emergency and tasked the European Commission with negotiating contracts with the pharmaceutical companies.
However, under European law, EU member states are still allowed to approve their own vaccines without waiting for approval at EU level.