Moderna is developing a combined vaccine against Covid and flu

As of: 01/17/2022 6:58 p.m

Corona booster and flu vaccination in one – the US manufacturer Moderna may want to launch such a combined active ingredient on the market in autumn 2023. Other companies are also working on it.

The vaccine manufacturer Moderna has promised a combined booster vaccination against Covid-19 and flu for 2023. The US company is researching such a combined booster, said Moderna boss Stephane Bancel at a virtual conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos.

According to Bancel, the best-case scenario assumes that the combined Covid/flu vaccine will be available in at least some countries by autumn next year. “Our goal is to have a single annual refresher.” This could counteract the possible problem of not having to administer two to three vaccinations per winter.

Other manufacturers had previously announced that they were researching such a combination vaccine. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach had campaigned for companies to bring a coupled vaccine onto the market as soon as possible – in order to lower the hurdles and increase willingness to vaccinate.

Data on Omicron vaccine in March

Moderna boss Bancel also announced newer findings on a corona vaccine for March, which is adapted to the omicron variant. The vaccine candidate against the highly contagious variant will enter clinical development in the coming weeks, he said. Moderna hopes to share the data with regulators in March to determine next steps.

This means that Moderna is apparently a little behind the schedule of BioNTech and Pfizer. According to their own statements, the pharmaceutical company from Mainz and its US partner have already started to produce a corona vaccine adapted to the Omicron variant for later commercial use. This was announced by BioNTech boss Ugur Sahin last week at a health conference of the US bank JP Morgan. A clinical trial for the vaccine will begin at the end of January. “We expect to be ready to supply the market by March, once regulatory approvals are in place.”

Company founder Özlem Türeci said in December that the first commercial batches of a special Omicron vaccine could be available in March – and then millions of them. Before that, however, further laboratory data and, above all, data from practice would have to be evaluated. That should happen in these weeks.

Infections even after the fourth vaccination

Omicron spreads very quickly. At the same time, hopes are growing that the variant will lead to an easier course of the disease and accelerate the end of the pandemic. Some experts assume that a separate Omicron vaccine in the spring could possibly come too late because so many people will have been infected by then.

Meanwhile, interim results of a study from Israel indicate that omicron is spreading even after a fourth corona vaccination. Infections are observed in people who have been vaccinated four times, said Professor Gili Regev from the Shiba Hospital near Tel Aviv. Two weeks after a fourth dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer preparation, a “nice increase” in antibodies can be observed. “But for Omikron this nice value is not enough.”

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