February 4, 2020 / 5:58 PM / 20 days ago

EU medicines agency to support coronavirus vaccine, drug development

(Reuters) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was taking steps to speed up the development of vaccines and treatments to combat the new coronavirus that has killed more than 400 people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency and experts say much is still unknown, including its mortality rate and transmission routes.

“EMA is ready to support medicine developers with all available regulatory tools to advance and expedite the development of effective measures to fight and prevent the spread of this virus,” the agency said.

It said it was looking for potential antivirals or vaccines to treat or prevent the virus outbreak and that it was analyzing all available information on developers’ drug pipelines.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) has said it was working with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in an effort to develop a vaccine.

“EMA has activated its plan for managing emerging health threats,” EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi said, adding that the agency would provide fast-track scientific advice and give prompt feedback on any proposed medicine developments.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair

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