Japanese approval of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine unlikely before May - (The Japan Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The Japan Times reported that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to win approval in Japan until May due to requirements for local clinical trials, the distributor said.

  • A Japanese trial of the Moderna vaccine, which has already gained approval in the US, Europe, Canada and Israel, is due to start this month.

  • Masayuki Imagawa, head of the Japan vaccine business for Takeda, said it would likely take several more months to complete the trial and said securing approval in May was "the best-case scenario."

  • According to the news source, Takeda is a critical component to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's aim to have enough vaccines for the population by June before the Tokyo Games, currently scheduled to start on July 23.

  • The Japanese drugmaker is handling domestic approval and imports of the Moderna shot as well as local production of Novavax's vaccine, whose development and approval in Japan is further off.

  • Meanwhile, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is also being trialed in Japan, leaving a shot co-developed by Pfizer and BioNTech the only one currently under regulatory review in the country.

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