This Amsterdam-based body is responsible for authorizing and monitoring medicines in the European Union (EU).
The final green light is given by the European Commission (EC) and allows laboratories to market their medicines throughout the Union.
The EMA made the statement after EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced last week that the agency could approve vaccines tested by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in the “second half of December”.
“It is difficult, at this stage, to accurately predict the vaccination authorization deadlines, because we do not yet have all the data, and ongoing examinations are still ongoing,” EMA said in an e-mail to AFP.
“Depending on the progress of the evaluation, the EMA may be able to complete the evaluation of the most advanced candidate (vaccines) by the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” the European agency said.
The EMA has implemented an accelerated procedure that allows it to examine data on vaccine safety and efficacy as they occur – before the manufacturer submits a formal application for authorization.
Oxford / AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna are the three vaccine projects subject to this “continuous eman”.
The British laboratory AstraZeneca, associated with Oxford University, announced on Monday that they have developed a vaccine that has an average efficiency of 70% – up to 90% in some cases, according to intermediate results.
These results of AstraZeneca seem, for the moment, less convincing than those of the competition Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna, whose efficiency is higher than 90%.
But the British formula has the advantage of using a more traditional technology, which makes its future vaccine both cheaper and easier to store.