Vaccination, GMOs and the EU

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Some of the most promising anti-Covid vaccines under development Covid-19 use a form of genetic modification.  For example, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is based on a virus that infects chimpanzees where some of its genetic instructions have been altered.  But hang on, won't this mean that EU countries can't use this vaccine?  After all the EU's sophisticated, progressive, democratically-negotiated, principle-based rules that mean it takes about five years for it to approve each variety of GM organism to be used.

Not so!  Phew.  It seems that, back in July, the European Commission, supported by the European Parliament, suspended the rules for vaccines.  Or, as the parliament’s press release at the time put it:

Some Covid-19 vaccines and treatment being developed may be defined [as] genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are thus covered by the relevant EU GMO directives ... a derogation from these rules is needed to avoid significant delay in developing life-saving vaccines and treatments.”

But don't worry, the Commission will revert to its anti-science (or is that just anti-American?) norm next year.  What a relief for progressive forces across the continent.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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