Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in the UK

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The MHRA, the UK drug regulator, has given approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be used for immunization on British soil. The formula is the second one given the green light in the country.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave the go-ahead as part of a “rolling review,” a fast-track process for new drugs that can be used during a health crisis, the regulator said on Wednesday.

“I’m really pleased to say that the UK is now one step closer to providing a safe and effective vaccine to help in the fight against Covid-19 – a virus that has affected each and every one of us in some way – and in helping to save lives,” MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine said in a statement.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the development, saying it ended 2020 in “a moment of hope” for the country.

Brilliant to end 2020 with such a moment of hope: the @UniofOxford / @AstraZeneca#coronavirus vaccine has today been authorised for use by @mhragovukThe #coronavirus vaccine is our way out of the pandemic – now we need to hold our nerve while we get through this together.

— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) December 30, 2020

The vaccine, which is named AZD1222, was developed at Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. The UK has already launched a national immunization campaign this month, using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, called Tozinameran, which was developed by a US-German team of researchers.

AstraZeneca is currently involved with the Gamaleya Institute, the Russian developer of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, to explore whether a combination of the two formulas triggers a stronger immune response. An agreement on the project was signed last week.

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