Headquarters of the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam. Credit: Ceescamel/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
An investigation has been launched after the European Medicine’s Agency said on Wednesday that it had been the victim of a cyberattack.
“EMA has been the subject of a cyberattack. The Agency has swiftly launched a full investigation, in close cooperation with law enforcement and other relevant entities,” the EU’s top drugs regulator said in a online statement.
The agency, which is crucially in the midst of reviewing data on over a dozen coronavirus vaccines, did not specify the nature of the cyberattack nor if it had been effective.
“EMA cannot provide additional details whilst the investigation is ongoing. Further information will be made available in due course,” it said.
A spokesperson for the EMA told the BBC that the agency remained “functional.”
The attack comes as the Amsterdam-based agency is reviewing market approval authorisations on two key Covid-19 vaccines which have completed late-stage clinical trials, Pfeizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s.
It also comes after the UK became the first country to begin its massive Covid-19 vaccination campaign using the Pfeizer/BioNTech jab, whose evaluation by US drug authorities is also on the cusp of conclusion.
The approval of a coronavirus vaccine by the EMA is a crucial condition enabling member states to effectively begin vaccinations.
Belgium has so far signed up to get 600,000 doses of Pfeizer/BioNTech’s vaccine and has said that, if all goes to plan, it will be ready to begin vaccinating the first priority groups as early as 5 January.