AMSTERDAM– The European Union’s drug regulator said on Friday that coronavirus vaccine documents stolen from its servers in a cyberattack were not only leaked online, but also “manipulated” by hackers.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) noted that an ongoing investigation into the theft showed hackers obtained emails and documents from November related to the evaluation of experimental vaccines for the virus. The agency, which regulates medicines and drugs in the block, had extensive confidential information on Covid-19 as part of its approval process.
“Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators prior to publication in a way that could undermine confidence in vaccines,” the agency said.
He indicated that, given the devastating consequences of the pandemic, there is an “urgent public health need to make vaccines available to EU citizens as soon as possible.” The agency insisted that, despite this urgency, its decisions to recommend approval of the inoculations were based “on the strength of the scientific evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of a vaccine, and nothing else.”
Germany and other EU member states harshly criticized the Amsterdam-based agency in December for failing to approve vaccines against the virus more quickly. The EMA issued its first recommendation for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine weeks after it had already received the green light in Britain, the United States, Canada and other countries.
The European agency recommended a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, in the first days of this month. And he is currently evaluating a third, that of AstraZeneca and Oxford.
The EMA indicated that law enforcement agencies are taking “necessary actions” in response to the cyber attack.