LONDON — The British government said Friday it has formally asked the country’s medicines regulator to assess whether a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University should be authorized for use.
The step comes amid questions about preliminary results from trials of the jab, after the company and the university acknowledged that the most encouraging part of their findings stemmed from a dosing error.
U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to determine whether the vaccine “meets rigorous safety standards.”
It’s the second vaccine candidate to reach the formal assessment stage in Britain, following a shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. A third vaccine from U.S. firm Moderna is not far behind.
The British government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and plans to start distributing it in December if it gains approval.