The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been on the receiving end of a cyberattack that has yielded the attackers unlawful access to confidential documents relating to the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2.
BioNTech, the German biotech company, in a statement, said that the documents were stored on the EMA servers. It has been confirmed that neither BioNTech’s nor Pfizer’s systems or any personal data of trial participants have been breached nor have any details of study participants been identified.
Despite the ongoing investigations, there is still no clarity on the nature of documents accessed and by whom and when. Pfizer and BioNTech said that they had been informed by the EMA “that the agency has been subject to a cyber-attack and that some documents relating to the regulatory submission for COVID-19 vaccine candidate had been viewed.
But, Considering the sensitive nature of this information and the importance of transparency, BioNTech had decided to release details of the hack.
Currently, the EMA is reviewing the data and suitability of two COVID-19 vaccines. One from Pfizer and BioNTech and the other from Moderna. As of now, there is no details as to whether the data of Moderna has been compromised.
The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech became the first vaccine to be given an emergency approval, having received the same from Britain and Canada till date.
This is not the first time that an entity linked with COVID-19 vaccines and treatment is being targeted. Companies such as Dr.Reddy’s and organisations such as WHO to have not been spared. But these documents could be extremely valuable to other countries and companies trying to develop vaccines, Experts said.