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Moderna unveils plans for cancer and dementia vaccines – as it opens UK factory

BRITAIN is cementing its place as a vaccine “superpower” thanks to a deal to make home-grown mRNA jabs.

The plan means NHS patients will have guaranteed access to the next generation of pandemic-busting shots.

Moderna made one of the three Covid vaccines used in the UK and will now set up shop hereCredit: Reuters

Moderna’s new £1billion mRNA Innovation and Technology Centre will develop cutting-edge jabs for a wide range of infections - including Covid variants.

And it is also looking at producing vaccines targeting cancer, flu, dementia and heart disease.

The UK pipped France, among other nations, to seal the deal.

Boris Johnson said “supercharging” domestic manufacturing will guarantee access to Covid and other life-saving jabs.

The PM said: “I want the UK to be the brightest and best in research and technology, creating more jobs and securing our economic future.

“Our investment will guarantee jabs in arms against some of the toughest viruses out there, bringing us to the forefront of the fight against future threats.

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“We’ve all seen what vaccines can do, and today’s partnership brings us one step closer to finding cures for some of the most devastating diseases.”

Officials said the new centre – which will be ready from 2025 - will be able to scale up production rapidly in the event of a health emergency, significantly boosting the UK’s ability to respond to future pandemics.

Earlier this month, scientists used mRNA technology to create a jab that stops tumours growing back after surgery.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our new partnership with Moderna will cement the UK’s status as a science superpower, significantly boosting the economy and creating jobs.

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"And it has the potential to unlock the next generation of cutting-edge vaccines to fight diseases such as Covid, seasonal flu and RSV.

“mRNA is a truly transformational technology and we have seen its life-saving power during the pandemic.”

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Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel said: “The UK has established a world-class life sciences and research community.

“We are pleased to bring local mRNA manufacturing to the UK. We look forward to establishing our R&D activities and capabilities in the country.”