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Coronavirus vaccines: Moderna nears US approval, Valneva starts trials in UK as rollout in full stea


As vaccine developments around the world are culminating into official approvals, it’s been another plentiful day for news on potential COVID-19 jabs.

Moderna Inc’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) jab is expected to be discussed in a hotly anticipated US Food and Drug Administration meeting scheduled for Thursday, with a final decision expected as early as Friday.

The regulator said its early analysis confirmed 95% efficacy, as announced by the biotech, so on Thursday it will turn to external experts for the last assessment.

Valneva starts UK trials

French firm Valneva has begun the phase 1/2 of trials for its candidate, which is being developed in Scotland.

The study will be conducted on 150 healthy adults in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The firm, which has a facility in Livingston, West Lothian, plans to include more than 4,000 participants in additional trials, which it believes could support an initial regulatory approval as soon as the fourth quarter of 2021.

UK rollout in full steam

Staying in the UK, Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, said that from next week Westminster will publish weekly figures on the number of vaccines administered.

Since the programme began on December 8, nearly 138,000 people among over 80s, care home and NHS staff have received the jab.

China sales

Chinese firm Fosun Pharmaceutical has announced it will buy at least 100mln doses of the inoculation developed by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) if Beijing approves it.

China has not announced governmental deals with US or EU companies, which instead have made agreements with local peers.

Under the deal, Fosun would bring in 60% of annual gross profit from doses that it will assemble after importing ingredients, and 65% from sales of ready-made doses.

BioNTech will receive an initial payment of EUR250mln (GBP225mln) for 50mln, and the remainder after the approval.

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