Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Co. has applied with the health ministry for approval of a new coronavirus vaccine, aiming to be the first in the nation to put a domestically developed messenger RNA vaccine into use.

The same type of vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., both of the United States, has already been in use in Japan. Daiichi Sankyo's is tailored for previously dominant variants and intended for third jabs.

Daiichi Sankyo announced its application for its mRNA vaccine's manufacture and sale on Friday, with plans to put it into use by the end of this year.

With Japan's current eighth wave of infections driven largely by the highly contagious Omicron variant, the company plans to start clinical trials targeting the variant sometime during the new fiscal year from April, using the same vaccine.

One of its rivals, Shionogi & Co., applied with the ministry last November for approval of its recombinant protein-based preventive vaccine, the same type as the vaccine developed by Novavax Inc., which differs from vaccines using messenger RNA technology.

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