Pfizer is testing a combination of a COVID and flu vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech have launched a Phase 1 trial of an mRNA-based vaccine that would target both COVID-19 and the flu virus.
According to BioNTechThe vaccine candidate is a combination of Pfizer’s influenza vaccine candidate, which is in Phase 3 clinical development, and a bivalent omicron-specific dose of the company’s coronavirus vaccine.
The study included 180 adults aged 18 to 64. Participants received their first doses of the vaccine candidate this week. The follow-up period for each participant will be six months.
“The flexibility and speed of production of mRNA technology has shown that it is well suited to other respiratory diseases,” Annaliesa Anderson, Pfizer’s senior vice president and chief scientific officer of vaccine research and development, said in a statement.
“Even with existing seasonal flu vaccines, the burden of this virus is severe worldwide, causing thousands of deaths and hospitalizations each year,” Anderson said.
As vaccines against COVID-19 have become widely available, discussion has arisen about the possibility of a combined flu and coronavirus vaccine. Experts argued that combining the two vaccines could improve vaccine uptake and potentially reduce hesitancy, as most people are satisfied with receiving an annual flu shot.
The launch of a Pfizer and BioNTech study of a combination flu and COVID-19 vaccine comes as health officials warn of what could be a tough season for respiratory viruses this year. Exposure to the flu virus has been low for the past two years as the pandemic has pushed more people indoors, and a severe flu season in the southern hemisphere has officials worried the same could happen in the north.
Last week, the number of weekly confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose for the first time since the number of cases peaked in late July. Europe has already faced a surge in cases, and the US has tended to follow transatlantic trends not long after.
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