The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has affected the health of tens of millions of people worldwide. In particular, in elderly and frail individuals the infection can lead to severe disease and even fatal outcomes. Although the pandemic is primarily a human health crisis its consequences are much broader with a tremendous impact on global economics and social systems. Vaccines are considered the most powerful measure to fight the pandemic and protect people from COVID-19. Based on the concerted activities of scientists, manufacturers and regulators, the urgent need for effective countermeasures has provoked the development and licensure of novel COVID-19 vaccines in an unprecedentedly fast and flexible manner within <1 year. To ensure the safety and efficacy of these novel vaccines during the clinical development and the routine use in post-licensure vaccination campaigns existing regulatory requirements and procedures had to be wisely and carefully adapted to allow for an expedited evaluation without compromising the thoroughness of the regulatory and scientific assessment. In this review, we describe the regulatory procedures, concepts and requirements applied to guide and promote the highly accelerated development and licensure of safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines in Europe.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; clinical trial; licensure; regulatory requirements; vaccine.
© 2021 The Authors. Allergy published by European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.