Moderna, a US biotech company, released encouraging results from an early-stage human study of their mRNA flu shot on Friday. This vaccine is built on the same technology as its successful COVID-19 vaccine.
180 patients received the experimental flu vaccine, which was proven to be safe and to successfully elicit high levels of antibodies in both younger and older persons and at all dosage levels.
In a statement praising the outcome, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel stated that “even before the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 3 million people per year died owing to respiratory illnesses, and as a result of these viruses, many more people are admitted to hospitals or get sick.
Mild side effects were more common in younger adults than in older ones. The most frequent ones were headaches, muscle and joint aches, fatigue, and pain and tenderness at the injection site.
The trial’s 500-person next phase, which started last month, aims to determine the proper dosage level and contrast the licensed Moderna flu vaccine with other vaccines made more conventionally. Early in 2022, interim results are anticipated.
The trial’s later stages will evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Most of the flu vaccinations available today are based on inactivated viruses grown in chicken eggs.
The vaccines’ efficacy ranges from 40 to 60%, and virus strains must be chosen six to nine months before they are to be employed.
mRNA technology, which triggers an immune response by delivering genetic molecules containing the code for key components of a pathogen into human cells, is expected to speed up the development and production of immunizations and increase their efficacy, according to Moderna and other vaccine manufacturers, including Sanofi.
It is also possible to provide many mRNA molecules that encode for various strains in a single shot, which is a more effective immunization technique that might ease the strain on public health systems.
The experimental flu vaccine from Moderna is “quadrivalent,” which means that it specifically targets the four influenza viruses A/H1N1, A/H3N2, B/Yamagata, and B/Victoria, which were chosen in accordance with WHO standards.
The business is also working on further flu vaccines that would cover more strains, such as a “pan-respiratory booster” that would cover COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cold-causing virus that can be particularly dangerous for young children and the elderly.