London, Dec 2 — Pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as their competitor Moderna, have filed applications for approval of their COVID-19 vaccines, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday.
The firms seek “conditional marketing authorization” for their vaccines. The authorization will be granted after the agency finds the submitted data robust enough to guarantee quality, safety and effectiveness.
The EMA said in separate statements that the application submitted by U.S. company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will be evaluated at a special committee meeting to be held before Dec. 29, while that of Moderna Biotech Spain, a subsidiary of the U.S. biotech firm Moderna, will be discussed on Jan. 12 next year at the latest.
If the EMA makes a positive recommendation, the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union (EU), will fast-track its decision-making process with a view to granting a conditional marketing authorization valid in all EU and EEA (European Economic Area) member states within days, according to a Commission spokesman.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 26, there were 213 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 49 of them were in clinical trials.