In Early Trial, Promising Results for Moderna's Combo COVID-Flu Vaccine
THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Moderna Inc. announced Wednesday that it has seen positive early results with a new vaccine that would guard against four strains of flu plus COVID-19.
In interim findings from a Phase 1/2 trial, the vaccine showed both a strong immune response compared to the standard dose of flu vaccine in adults aged 50 to 64 and an enhanced flu shot in people aged 65 to 79. It also showed a strong response in comparison to Moderna’s COVID vaccine.
The new shot also appeared to be safe, with side effects similar to those people had with Moderna's COVID shots.
"With today's positive results from our combination vaccine against flu and COVID-19, we continue to expand our Phase 3 pipeline," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a company news release.
"Flu and COVID-19 represent a significant seasonal burden for individuals, providers, health care systems and economies. Combination vaccines offer an important opportunity to improve consumer and provider experience, increase compliance with public health recommendations, and deliver value for health care systems,” Bancel added.
Moderna noted that the flu places a substantial burden on health care systems every year, severely sickening 3 million to 5 million people and causing between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths. Older adults are disproportionately affected.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is the leading cause of severe illness and death throughout the world since the pandemic began in 2020.
Globally, there have been about 770 million cases of COVID-19 and 7 million deaths reported globally. Severe illness and death are also seen in greater numbers in older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
About 150 million doses of flu vaccine are administered in the United States each year, and this fall's COVID-19 vaccine is expected to reach 50 to 100 million doses this year, Moderna said.
Moderna hopes to get federal regulatory approval for the combined vaccine in 2025, so people will need to get separate vaccines for now.
Pfizer and Novavax have been studying similar combination shots, CNN reported.
“We are excited to move combination respiratory vaccines into Phase 3 development and look forward to partnering with public health officials to address the significant seasonal threat posed to people by these viruses,” Bancel said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on seasonal flu vaccine.
SOURCES: Moderna, news release, Oct. 4, 2023; CNN