A scinetist is doing research on a vaccine against COVID-19 in Shanghai. Photo:Yang Hui/Global Times

US biotech firm, Moderna, is confident it could receive emergency approval for its new coronavirus vaccine from US authorities in December.

The approval would be dependent on the firm receiving positive results from ongoing large clinical trials in November, chief executive Stephane Bancel told an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal late on Monday.

“An emergency approval would enable front-line medical staff and other vulnerable people to receive the new vaccine even before the Massachusetts-based firm gets official full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” he said.

Bancel’s comments come days after US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, which is cooperating with the German company Biontech, said it hoped to apply for emergency US approval for its vaccine by late November.

Moderna and Pfizer are among the leading companies in the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

US trials for two further vaccines have been paused due to illnesses among study participants.

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