UPDATE 1-UK starts accelerated reviews for COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Pfizer - Bloomberg

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Oct 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s health regulator has started accelerated reviews for COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc, according to a Bloomberg News report on Friday.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is also conducting an expedited review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, developed along with the University of Oxford, the report said here.

AstraZeneca, Pfizer and MHRA did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

AstraZeneca and Pfizer are among the frontrunners in the race to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus, including, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc. Their vaccine candidates are in late-stage trials, interim data from which are expected in the coming weeks.

Earlier this week, Moderna said the MHRA had started a real-time review of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

The EMA uses “rolling reviews” to speed up evaluations of promising drugs or vaccines during a public health emergency, by assessing data as it is submitted, rather than waiting for all data to be made available along with a formal application.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli