South Korea begins preliminary review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate

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FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken
FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's food and drug ministry said on Tuesday it had begun a preliminary review of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC for potential fast-track approval.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement that it had formed a screening team to review the vaccine candidate, with an application for formal approval expected in 90 days under its rapid approval programme for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

The team is reviewing the vaccine's non-clinical test data, the ministry said.

The ministry added that it had given a green light to some 26 clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as of Monday, by entities such as pharmaceutical companies Celltrion Inc and Genexine Inc, with seven completed and 19 ongoing.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)