Moderna to open a vaccine research and manufacturing center in the UK
Moderna to open a vaccine research and manufacturing center in the UK

Moderna to open a vaccine research and manufacturing center in the UK

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The first mRNA vaccine developed in the UK is slated for production in 2025.

Moderna may start work on its manufacturing and research and development center in the UK as early as this year. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Moderna and the UK government on Wednesday announced a deal for a US biotech company to build a state-of-the-art center to develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines for respiratory diseases, including Covid.

The company and the health ministry said in a joint statement that work could start at the manufacturing and research and development center as early as this year.

The first mRNA vaccine developed in the UK is slated for production in 2025.

There were no financial or location details for the centre, but ministers said the deal would give patients in the National Health Service access to “next generation” vaccines and treatments.

It will also ensure a “consistent supply of home-made products” and allow for increased production in the event of a future health crisis, enabling the hub to become a global base for clinical trials.

“mRNA technology has proven to be one of the fastest routes to develop a vaccine that is highly effective during a pandemic and is very important in protecting people,” the health ministry said.

It said the technology could lead to breakthrough treatments in a number of disease areas, including cancer, flu, dementia and heart disease.

“Our investment will guarantee a gun strike against some of the toughest viruses out there, bringing us to the forefront of the fight against future threats,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson added.

The UK is one of the countries worst hit by the Covid outbreak, with nearly 180,000 deaths.

It bought vaccines in bulk before they were even given regulatory approval for use, including Moderna and Pfizer mRNA injections.

AstraZeneca is working with scientists at the University of Oxford to develop their own, more conventional vaccine.

(AFP)

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