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Moderna Receives U.K. Authorization for Covid Vaccine

The U.K. government clears Moderna's Covid vaccine and exercises its option to buy 10 million more doses.
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Biopharmaceutical company Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report announced Friday that U.K. regulators gave temporary authorization for its mRNA Covid vaccine, and the government ordered another 10 million doses.

The decision by the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency was based on the advice of the U.K. Commission on Human Medicines.

The government exercised an option on the additional doses, bringing its confirmed order commitment to 17 million doses, the Cambridge, Mass., company said in a statement. 

The first deliveries of the Covid-19 vaccine to the U.K. from Moderna’s dedicated non-U.S. supply chain are expected to begin early this year.

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The U.K. is the fifth country/country group to authorize the vaccine. The other four are the U.S. on Dec. 18, Canada on Dec. 23, Israel on Jan. 4 and the European Union on Jan. 6, Moderna said. 

Additional authorizations are under review in a number of countries, including Singapore and Switzerland.

Moderna stock first rose on the news, but later slipped. It recently traded at $112.74, down 2.04%. It has skyrocketed 535% in the past year amid investor enthusiasm over the vaccine.

Meanwhile, a new study suggested the vaccine developed by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report could offer protection against mutations found in new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus that were discovered in the U.K. and South Africa.

The research, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and supported by Pfizer and BioNTech, found that antibodies from vaccine recipients successfully fended off the virus in lab dishes. The study hasn't yet been reviewed by experts.