UPDATE 1-EU to further study blood clot cases linked to AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

(Adds details from statement, background)

March 25 (Reuters) - Europe’s drugs regulator said on Thursday its safety panel will call a meeting of experts on March 29 to further study the reported cases of blood clots linked to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

External medical experts and two public representatives are expected to give their views on possible reasons for the clots, how they are occurring and other possible risks, the European Medicines Agency said here.

The EMA and World Health Organization backed the vaccine’s safety last week, but a poll showed European confidence had taken a hit after at least 17 countries suspended or delayed use following reports of hospitalisations with clotting issues and bleeding.

The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), which looks into the safety of human medicines, has launched an ongoing, speedy review to assess these clots, including rare cases of blood clots in the brain.

An updated recommendation by the PRAC is expected between April 6 and 9 when the committee will be meeting.

AstraZeneca has said that its studies have found no higher risk of clots because of the vaccine.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty