Valneva Covid-19 Vaccine Has Been Granted Regulatory Approval By The MHRA

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Valneva has been granted regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

It is the sixth coronavirus vaccine to be granted an MHRA authorisation.

The UK's independent medicines regulator is the first in the world to approve the Valneva product, MHRA said in a statement.

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said: "Our approval of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Valneva today follows a rigorous review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of this vaccine, and expert advice from the government's independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines."

The Valneva jab - developed by the French firm, which has a factory in Livingston near Edinburgh - is the first whole-virus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine to gain regulatory approval in the UK.

With this type of vaccine, 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 COVID-19 virus.

This process for creating vaccines is widely used already in the production of flu and polio vaccines, the MHRA said.

The UK had been due to receive 100 million doses of the Valneva jab, but the government cancelled the deal in September due to a "breach of obligations".

The former chairwoman of the country's vaccine taskforce last year criticised the decision to pull out of the agreement before Valneva had finished clinical testing of the vaccine.

Dame Kate Bingham, who stood down from her role at the end of 2020, said the government may have "acted in bad faith" in the way it cancelled the deal.

The Valneva approval follows the authorisation of the Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen and Novavax vaccines in the UK.

It comes as the number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales continues to rise, although levels remain well below those reached during previous waves of the virus.

Official data released last Friday, showed the recent surge in COVID infections had levelled off and may have started to decline.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 4,883,100 people in the UK had the virus in the week to 2nd April. This was a fall of 0.5% from the week before.

The NHS Confederation has said very high infection rates are having a "major impact" on the health service, which is facing pressures it would see in a "bad winter" well into spring

But Downing Street has rejected calls to reintroduce greater mask-wearing and a push to encourage mixing outdoors.

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