Hackers steal Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine data in Europe, say firms

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US drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Wednesday said that documents related to their COVID-19 vaccine had been “unlawfully accessed” in a cyberattack on the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

It was not immediately clear when or how the attack took place, who was responsible or what other information may have been compromised. The EMA earlier said that it had been targeted in a cyberattack, but gave no further details.

“We are unaware of any personal data being accessed,” Pfizer said in a statement, while BioNTech said it was “unaware that any study participants have been identified through the data being accessed”.

The EMA “has assured us that the cyberattack will have no impact on the timeline for its review”. The agency has said it would complete its review by December 29.

As a medicines regulator for the European Union, the EMA has access to data on the safety and quality of medicines from clinical trials and lab tests from companies that apply for authorisation.

In recent months, media outlets reported that hackers linked to North Korea, Iran, Vietnam, China and Russia have been accused of trying to steal information about the virus and its treatments.

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