Covid: The European Medicines Agency relies on a vaccine for January

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) plans to give its favorable opinion on a first vaccine against the new coronavirus before the end of the year for distribution from January, its director said on Saturday.

"If the data is robust, we can give the green light to the first vaccine by the end of the year and begin distribution from January," said Guido Rasi, director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in an interview published on Saturday in the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

This body is responsible for authorizing and controlling medicines in the EU. The final green light, given by the European Commission, allows laboratories to market their medicines throughout the EU.

The EMA, which expects "6 or 7" different vaccines to be available in 2021, received "the first clinical data from Pfizer for its vaccine on Friday," said Guido Rasi. "We have received preclinical data from AstraZeneca, data from animal trials that are already being evaluated and finally we have had several discussions with Moderna," he lists.

Visible effects for next summer

By putting a vaccine on the market in January, its first effects on the spread of the virus "will be visible in five or six months, mainly next summer," he explains.

"It is obvious that it will not be possible to immunize everyone, but we will start with the categories of greatest risk, such as the elderly and health workers, who will begin to block the transmission bridges," he says.

He judges that it is necessary to vaccinate "more than half" of the European population to "be able to attend to a decrease in the pandemic", which will require "at least 500 million doses in Europe".

To vaccinate everyone, "it will take at least a year" and "if all goes well by the end of 2021, we will have enough immunization," adds Guido Rasi.

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