Cyber attack on Medicines Agency targetted vaccine developer
Share article:
Share article:

Cyber attack on Medicines Agency targetted vaccine developer

© Belga

A cyber-attack on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was aimed at data relating to BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The EMA, based in Amsterdam, announced the attack yesterday, without giving details of the information involved or when the attack took place.

However BioNTech, based in Mainz in Germany, issued a press release stating that “some documents relating to the regulatory submission for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, which had been stored on an EMA server, had been unlawfully accessed.”

It is important to note that no BioNTech or Pfizer systems have been breached in connection with this incident and we are unaware that any study participants have been identified through the data being accessed,” the company said.

The EMA is currently thought to be nearing the end of its deliberations on granting a licence for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been very much in the news this week as the UK – which has its own regulatory authority – starts vaccinating the public.

Related News


As well as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is produced in Puurs in Antwerp province, the EMA is also considering approval of another vaccine, from US company Moderna.

The EMA said it is investigating the cyber-attack, and has assured the company the incident will have no effect on the timeline of its review.

Belgium has ordered 600,000 doses of the vaccine, and the government has said it should be possible to begin vaccinations in early January.

As an investigation is underway, the EMA has offered few details. It is not known how long the attack lasted, or whether documents were accessed or copied.

The Agency quickly launched a full investigation, in close cooperation with law enforcement agencies and other relevant entities,” the agency said in a statement.

Given the critical public health considerations and the importance of transparency, we continue to provide clarity around all aspects of the vaccine development and regulatory processes,” BioNTech said.

Our focus remains steadfast on working in close partnership with governments and regulators to bring our COVID-19 vaccine to people around the globe as safely and as efficiently as possible to help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...
‘Fourth wave’ has begun: These are the rules
The expected fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has begun, according to Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). Belgium’s ...
Coronavirus: Ending the pandemic is ‘a choice,’ says WHO chief
The Covid-19 pandemic will end “when the world chooses to end it” because “all the tools” are now available to fight the virus, the World Health ...
‘Can’t keep count’: Instagram page for sexual assault testimonies overwhelmed
An Instagram account compiling testimonies in an effort to give a voice to victims of sexual violence in bars and nightclubs has been overwhelmed ...
Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...