Moderna is in the early stages of developing a single-dose vaccine that protects against both the flu and COVID-19, the company announced 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,” Moderna’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel said in a press release.
Moderna’s mRNA vaccine that is currently being administered is a double-dose vaccine, with a second shot required two weeks after the first for full immunity. Over 147 million Moderna vaccine doses have been administered in the United States so far, compared to 214 million Pfizer and 14.5 million Johnson & Johnson doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (RELATED: Japan Halts Use Of 1.63 Million Moderna Vaccine Doses Over Contamination Fears)
The vaccine encodes, or teaches cells to make, the harmless “spike protein” which is found on the surface of the coronavirus, according to the CDC. Human immune systems recognize the spike protein as harmful and build antibodies to fight it, thereby protecting against future infection.
Moderna’s combination vaccine will only require a single shot, and use mRNA technology to encode COVID-19 spike proteins as well as hemagglutinin (HA) glycoproteins, which bind the flu virus to infected cells. The vaccine is designed to be a booster for those who have already received an initial vaccination.
“We believe our mRNA platform can solve the world’s greatest health challenges, from diseases impacting millions, to ultra-rare diseases impacting dozens, to medicines personalized down to the individual level,” Bancel said.
The company also announced that its seasonal flu vaccine, protecting against four different strains recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), is currently in Phase 1 trials. Moderna also collected “positive” Phase 1 data on an mRNA vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory virus that kills up to 500 children a year, according to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Moderna did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for additional comment.
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