USA – American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, Moderna, is developing a two-in-one vaccine booster shot that protects against both Covid-19 and the seasonal flu.
The new vaccine, which the company is calling mRNA-1073, combines Moderna’s current Covid vaccine with a flu shot that’s also under development, according to a press release.
The drug maker already had several influenza vaccine candidates in development. The new vaccine combines the experimental flu shot that is furthest along with its Covid vaccine.
“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,” CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.
In similar moves, Novavax said on Wednesday it has initiated an early-stage study to test its combined flu and Covid vaccine.
This announcement comes on the heels of Moderna’s highly successful launch of its mRNA-based two-dose Covid vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in December.
More than 147 million of the Moderna shots have been administered in the U.S., according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology has been under development for years, but Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines are the first time mRNA has been cleared for use in humans.
The mRNA-based Covid vaccines work by tricking the body to produce a harmless piece of the virus, triggering an immune response.
It’s said to be easier to produce than traditional vaccines, which generally use a dead or weakened virus to produce an immune response.
Bancel previously said the company hoped to have a booster shot that would combine protection against both viruses.
“What we’re trying to do at Moderna actually is to get a flu vaccine in the clinic this year and then combine our flu vaccine to our Covid vaccine so you only have to get one boost at your local CVS store every year that would protect you to the variant of concern against Covid and the seasonal flu strain,” Bancel said in April.
Moderna also announced Thursday it is developing a pediatric vaccine, called mRNA-1365, which would combine vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus.
Shares of Moderna jumped by more than 5% after the announcement.