Moderna, the maker of the second COVID-19 vaccine to gain approval for emergency use in the US, is now looking to create a dual vaccine against the flu and the novel virus, the company’s chief executive recently said.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Tuesday that such a jab could be ready for use in a couple of years, though it would be subject to standard regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. . (FDA), not to an emergency use like its existing coronavirus vaccine. he said during the Wall Street Journal Health Forum.
“Today the vaccines we have for seasonal flu are doing well in a great year and quite bad in a bad year in terms of efficacy,” he said during the forum, according to the Journal. “It is not impossible that in a couple of years we will have the product I just talked about, a highly effective seasonal influenza vaccine and a COVID vaccine, for you in your pharmacy every year.”
By context, the flu vaccine created for the 2019-2020 season was approximately 45% effective at preventing disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Bancel said the biotech giant would use innovative messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to create the dual vaccine, the same technology that was used to create its initial COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech jab was also created using mRNA technology.
Both vaccines were the fastest ever developed and could usher in a new era of vaccine development, experts have said, as the technology could be used to improve existing vaccines and create new ones for a variety of diseases.
In the year that the new coronavirus has been, the flu has taken a back seat, with cases at record lows. Experts who previously spoke to Fox News about lower-than-usual flu activity in the country this year said preventative measures to protect against COVID-19, such as wearing masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding crowds indoors probably played a role in keeping the flu at bay.
This 2020-2021 flu season aside, the CDC estimates that the flu has caused between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths a year since 2010.
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The news comes after Moderna announced late last month that the modified COVID-19 vaccine it developed to address the worrying variant of the South African coronavirus was ready to be tested in humans in clinical trials.
Moderna in a press release at the time said it had sent the first batch of doses of the new jab to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial “that will be led and funded by the National Institutes of Health. of the NIH. Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “.
The new candidate vaccine, dubbed mRNA-1273,351, was created to better address the South African variant after the company’s existing vaccine was found to have reduced efficacy against the mutation.