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(Reuters) — The head of the European Union drug regulator said Thursday the agency's work assessing COVID-19 vaccines had not been disrupted by a cyberattack that took place in the past two weeks.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said Wednesday that documents related to the development of their COVID-19 vaccine had been “unlawfully accessed” in a cyberattack on the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA had disclosed the attack hours earlier but gave no details about when or how it took place, who was responsible or what information was compromised.
“We have been subject to a cyberattack over the last couple of weeks,” Emer Cooke told EU lawmakers during a hearing on Thursday. “I can assure you that this will not affect the timeline for delivery of vaccines and that we are fully functional.”
Pfizer and BioNTech said they did not believe any personal data of trial participants had been compromised and the EMA “has assured us that the cyberattack will have no impact on the timeline for its review.”
The agency has said it will decide on a possible conditional approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29.
Hacking attempts against health care and medical organizations have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic as attackers ranging from state-backed spies to cybercriminals hunt for information.
More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.
A report by India-based cyber security think tank Cyber Peace Foundation said that cyber attacks on Indian hospitals and vaccine makers increased significantly this year between October and November, Telangana Today reported citing IANS. There were nearly 8 million attacks on healthcare sector-based Threat Intelligence Sensors network, specifically simulated in India, between Oct. 1 and Nov. 25.