BioNTech and Pfizer who make one of the covid-19 vaccines in partnership said that its regulatory submissions and data were accessed in a cyberattack. The documents were unlawfully hacked from the European Medicines Agency, which authorizes the use of medicines across the European Union.
The two companies have released a statement which said that EMA has assured us that the cyber-attack will have no impact on the timeline for its review. BioNTech said it had made the details of the hack public “given the critical public health considerations and the importance of transparency”. It also further added about being “unaware” of any personal data of participants in its medical studies being compromised.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, meanwhile, said there was no indication the cyber-attack would affect the rollout of the vaccine in the UK. Security services warned in the summer that Russian intelligence had been targeting organisations attempting to develop a successful vaccine. In October, a pharmaceutical company, Dr Reddy’s based in India was the victim of a significant cyber-attack.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as “a global public good,” available to everyone, everywhere on the planet, especially in Africa, which is desperately in need of financing to “adequately respond to the crisis.”
To support this endeavour, he appealed for 4.2-billion-U.S.-dollar funding in the next two months for COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure effective and equitable global access to vaccines.