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Angela Merkel Must Beat The Pandemic To Save Her Legacy

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EU Must Prepare For ‘Era Of Pandemics’, Says Von Der Leyen

EU Must Prepare For ‘Era Of Pandemics’, Says Von Der Leyen

Europe must prepare its medical sector to face an “era of pandemics”, said the president of the European Commission, warning that the bloc was still in its most difficult period for deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines. Ursula von der Leyen told the Financial Times that the EU could not afford to stand still even after Covid-19 was defeated, as she outlined her plans for a Europe-wide rapid reaction system designed to respond more quickly to emerging medical threats.

 

“Europe is determined to increase its power in vaccine production,” she said in a telephone interview. “This is an era of pandemics that we are entering. If you look at what has happened in recent years, I mean from HIV to Ebola to MERS and SARS these were all epidemics that could be contained, but we shouldn’t think it’s all over. when we defeated Covid- 19. The risk is still there. ” Von der Leyen last month unveiled plans for a biodefense readiness plan called the HERA incubator, which will combine researchers, biotech companies, manufacturers and public authorities to monitor emerging threats and work on the adaptation of vaccines. This will be part of a Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

 

The concept is an attempt to reflect some of the benefits conferred by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is tasked with responding quickly to emerging health threats.

 

The EU remains in its “toughest quarter with no questions” for vaccine deliveries, she said, warning that “very many problems” could still arise in the production process. Turning to the second quarter, she stressed that a second European contract with BioNTech / Pfizer for their vaccine would come into effect, alongside the new coup from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to be cleared in March. Von der Leyen admitted to the European Parliament in early February that mistakes had been made in the EU’s vaccination effort, and the campaign is still lagging behind those in the US and UK. Difficulties include persistent production problems at AstraZeneca’s European facilities.

 

Von der Leyen said she was sticking to the EU target of distributing 300 million doses in the second quarter, saying the challenge will shift from vaccine production to national deployments. The good news for the EU is its access to mRNA technology, which is used in the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine and which scientists say can be used to quickly adapt to mutations, said von der Leyen .

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