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UK approves Moderna coronavirus vaccine

UK approves Moderna coronavirus vaccine
© getty

The United Kingdom on Friday approved a third coronavirus vaccine, allowing the inoculation developed by Moderna to be distributed for emergency use.

The U.K. Department of Health revealed the regulatory approval as the country enters a new national lockdown following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Moderna is the third vaccine authorized for use in the country, following earlier approvals for the vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech and from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

It requires two doses, administered 28 days apart, and has already been distributed across the United States.

Moderna's vaccine is anticipated to create fewer logistical challenges since it does not require the same ultra-cold storage of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. It can remain stable for up to 30 days at the same temperature as a standard refrigerator.

The U.K. has been battling a more infectious variation of the coronavirus, recording more than 50,000 new daily cases for seven consecutive days.

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Moderna said last month that its vaccine will be able to protect people from the new strain sweeping the country.

“While we plan to run tests to confirm the activity of the vaccine against any strain, the broad range of potential neutralizing antibodies made possible by the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine provide confidence that our vaccine will also be effective at inducing neutralizing antibodies against them,” the company said in a statement.

“Based on the data to date, Moderna expects that the vaccine-induced immunity from the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine would be protective against the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus recently described in the UK. We will be performing additional tests of the vaccine in the coming weeks to confirm this expectation."