Health authorities call for common approach to COVID-19 treatments: EU

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

(Reuters) - International cooperation over COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is required to respond to emerging variants of the virus, improve access for pregnant women and build confidence in vaccines, Europe’s drugs regulator said on Thursday.

Health authorities from across the world including, Europe, the United States, Britain and Australia, met during the first few weeks of this year to address the evolving situation and rising infections, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said. (

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants are prompting drug developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies, while regulators are working at record speeds to evaluate and approve treatments and vaccines.

Workshops focusing on the issues were chaired by different regulators during the meetings, and possible solutions and next steps were arrived at, according to the EMA.

Suggestions to speed up approvals included cutting down on the need for large clinical trials if the developer of an approved COVID-19 vaccine could produce data to show how its shot would protect against new variants, based on a report from the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shounak Dasgupta