EU drugs agency sets up
Zika task force to speed vaccine work
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[February 08, 2016] LONDON
(Reuters) - Europe's drugs regulator said on Monday it had established
an expert task force on Zika to advise companies working on vaccines and
medicines against the virus, which is suspected of causing a spike in
birth defects in Brazil.
With no currently approved vaccines or medicines and none even
undergoing clinical studies, the move by the London-based European
Medicines Agency (EMA) is designed to ensure Zika development work
proceeds as rapidly as possible.
"The agency is encouraging medicines developers to contact EMA if
they have any promising projects in this area. EMA will also
proactively reach out to companies already planning to work on
investigational vaccines and offer scientific and regulatory
advice," it said in a statement.
"Early and regular interaction with the agency can significantly
speed up the development of medicines."
Several biotech and pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a
Zika vaccine, including France's Sanofi, which already has vaccine
for the similar condition of dengue.
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But scientists know relatively little about Zika and the road to
developing a preventative shot against the mosquito-borne disease is
strewn with hurdles.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Adrian Croft)
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