Corona virus disease. Emma: “It continues to be a threat to global health, and with the risk of new variants emerging, we cannot let our guard down”

by Emer Cooke

This is how the Director of the European Agency, Emer Cooke, commented on the decision of the World Health Organization to declare the end of the public health emergency of international concern. “EMA remains fully committed to supporting the EU response to the threat of COVID-19 and ensuring that new or modified vaccines and treatments are made available as needed.”

09 May

On Friday, the Director-General of the World Health Organization announced the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. I welcome this major achievement and would like to share some thoughts with you on what this means for the EMA.

COVID-19 was declared a health emergency on January 30, 2020. For more than three years, the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the world, killing millions, both from the virus itself and the massive disruptions it has caused to care for the infected. patient procedures.

From an EU and EMA perspective, we have much to be proud of in the way it has responded: The EU’s Vaccine Strategy has given every EU country access to safe, effective and high-quality vaccines and treatments to protect their citizens. The EMA has provided strong scientific recommendations, timely evaluation of new vaccines and treatments – and adapted its recommendations as the virus evolves – and helped mitigate shortages.

During the pandemic, waves of misinformation have undermined trust in our work and scientific expertise, ultimately endangering the lives of millions of people. We must not forget that it was science that brought us vaccine breakthroughs, it was science that freed us from barriers, and it was scientists who provided reliable, factual information when it mattered most.

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Overall, EMA has initiated new, agile ways of working, many of which are here to stay. Our response has been underpinned by unprecedented collaboration and a shared sense of purpose among regulators, developers, organizations and citizens. It has been supported by the relentless efforts and work of countless experts from the regulators, both at the EMA and national level. These activities have been enhanced by the fruitful cooperation between the international regulatory authorities through the International Alliance of Drug Regulators (ICMRA).

But our work does not stop there. COVID-19 continues to be a threat to global health, and with the threat of new variants emerging, we cannot let our guard down. EMA remains fully committed to supporting the EU response to the threat of COVID-19 and ensuring that new or modified vaccines and treatments are available as needed.

As the pandemic unfolded and public health responses quickly adapted to the emerging threat, it was clear that our communities were unprepared for a crisis of this magnitude. As we look ahead and prepare for new and emerging health challenges, we must not forget the scale of this health emergency. We are working to ensure that lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic are used to better prepare for any future public health emergencies we may face.

In terms of our operations, we will now make changes regarding certain activities that are necessary or even reserved for this type of crisis. We will provide updates on these changes in the coming weeks.

The past three years have put the regulatory system to the test, but with the end of the pandemic, we have undoubtedly emerged stronger, more coordinated at the EU and international levels, and more prepared for future crises. As we reach the long-awaited milestone of ending the public health emergency, I want to thank all of our partners and stakeholders involved in the response to the crisis, including the EMA Emergency Task Force (ETF), our science and expert committees, task forces, and group. Executive Guidelines on Medical Product Shortage and Safety (MSSG), as well as EMA staff who have made Europe proud with their unwavering commitment to public health.

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Emir Cook
Executive Director Emma

May 09, 2023
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