Biotechnology firm Moderna is developing a 2-in-1 vaccine that aims to provide protection to both COVID-19 and seasonal flu. The new vaccine combines the existing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine with a flu shot that’s currently under development.
mRNA -1073 is the 2-in-1 Vaccine
Called mRNA-1073, the new 2-in-1 vaccine is part of Moderna’s aim to produce single-shot vaccines covering multiple respiratory conditions.
Eventually, the company hopes to add vaccines it is working on for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory diseases as an annual shot.
Moderna is currently conducting clinical trials for an RSV vaccine in older adults. At present, the drugmaker is developing several influenza vaccine candidates. mRNA-1073 combines its experimental flu shot furthest along the development line with its COVID-19 vaccine.
New Age of Information-Based Medicines
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel issued a statement Thursday. “Today we are announcing the first step in our novel respiratory vaccine program with the development of a single-dose vaccine that combines a booster against COVID-19 and a booster against flu.
We are making progress on enrolling patients in our rare disease programs, and we are fully enrolled in our personalized cancer vaccine trial. We believe this is just the beginning of a new age of information-based medicines,” he said.
Bancel added that “We believe this is a very large opportunity that is ahead of us if we could bring to market a high efficacy pan-respiratory annual booster. We believe Moderna could be first to market in this important new opportunity.”
Prior to the 2-in-1 vaccines, Moderna and COVID-19 vaccine rival Pfizer/BioNTech expected to strike it rich from COVID-19 booster shots.
Apart from supplying the US and other countries with 2-dose vaccines for millions of citizens, the companies are issuing vaccine booster shots. These shots will reportedly add more protection for people who completed their vaccine shots earlier this year.
Adding influenza and other diseases could further boost the companies’ profits, which goes into the billions considering the demand for COVID vaccines. On Thursday, Moderna shares went up by 6.2%. Analysts see the potential.
Oppenheimer & Co analyst Hartaj Singh said investors reacted positively to news that Moderna’s 2-in-1 vaccines will undergo trials within the next 6-12 months.
“The question becomes that after the pandemic is over, how much do total vaccine sales become and how much can Moderna expand that market,” Singh said.
Another COVID-19 vaccine player, Novavax, is also developing its own 2-in-1 vaccines for flu and COVID-19. The company announced Wednesday that it started early-stage tests for its candidate vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
In addition to its 2-in-1 vaccine announcement, Moderna also provided updates on COVID-19 vaccine trials for children 6 months to 11 years old. Currently, the company is testing a 50-microgram dose of the shot in the pediatric trial involving 4,000 children.
Moderna said dose selection studies for different age groups such as 2 years to less than 6 years, and 6 months to below 2 years old, were still underway.
Currently, Moderna’s vaccine program consists of two 100-microgram doses for people aged 18 and above. This received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this year.
Full approval is currently under review. Rival Pfizer/BioNTech already has full approval and received emergency authorization for patients 12 to 15 years old.
Watch the Good Morning America video reporting on Moderna’s all in one flu and COVID vaccine:
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