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Britain approves Valneva's easy-to-store COVID-19 shot

Britain approves Valneva's easy-to-store COVID-19 shot

A biologist at the French-Austrian biotech firm Valneva works on an inactivated whole-virus vaccine against COVID-19 in a laboratory in Vienna, Austria, Dec 16, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner)

Britain approved on Thursday (Apr 14) Valneva's COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first country to give a nod to the French firm's coronavirus shot that is easier to store and involves a process widely used in making flu and polio vaccines.

The shot is also the sixth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the UK.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, UK's independent medicines regulator, said Valneva's COVID-19 vaccine met the required safety, quality and effectiveness standards.

"It (Valneva shot) is also the first, whole-virus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine to gain regulatory approval in the UK," the regulator said in a statement.

In vaccines such as the one developed by Valneva, the virus is grown in a lab and then made completely inactive so that it cannot infect cells or replicate in the body but can still trigger an immune response to the novel coronavirus.

The shot's storage temperature - of 2 degree Celsius to 8 degree Celsius - is similar to that of a domestic refrigerator, making it appropriate for use in countries where storage at very low temperatures is a challenge.

Valneva had said last month it expected a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency in April for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

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Source: Reuters/ng

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