FILE PHOTO: A biologist at the French-Austrian biotech firm Valneva prepares in a double door system before entering a laboratory to work on an inactivated whole-virus vaccine against COVID-19 in Vienna, Austria, December 16, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

Britain has approved a new coronavirus vaccine by the Austrian-French drugmaker Valneva.

“An approval has been granted after the Valneva Covid-19 vaccine was found to meet the required safety, quality and effectiveness standards,” the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said in a statement on Thursday (April 14), adding: “It is also the first, whole-virus inactivated Covid-19 vaccine to gain regulatory approval in the UK.”

In vaccines such as Valneva’s VLA2001, 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. It is seen by some as having the potential to win over people wary of some which use new mRNA technology.

Valneva CEO Thomas Lingelbach said that “this authorization could pave the way for the availability of an alternative vaccine solution for the UK population.”

It “could also lead to additional marketing authorizations in other regions of the world,” he said in a statement.

Valneva is the sixth coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the UK, after AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), and Novavax.

The vaccine, can be stored at fridge temperature, is approved for use in people aged 18-50 with the two doses to be taken at an interval of at least 28 days.

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