Moderna Plans Combined COVID-19, Flu Booster Shot In 2023

Moderna Inc. plans to market a combined COVID-19 and flu booster as soon as the fall of 2023, according to Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel. The one-yearly booster would also work against Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, a common respiratory virus, in single shot that would be administered before winter.

While speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum, Bancel said the combination vaccine would avoid the requirement of multiple jabs.

Bancel said, “Our goal is to be able to have a single annual booster so that we don’t have compliance issues where people don’t want to get to get two to three shots a winter, but to get one dose where they get a booster for Corona and a booster for flu and RSV to make sure people get their vaccines…. The best-case scenario would be the fall of 2023.”

Bancel had reportedly said last September that the biotechnology company focusing on messenger RNA or mRNA therapeutics and vaccines was working on a booster shot combining its mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, a vaccine under development against influenza as well as a dose to treat RSV.

The company now has 40 programs in development including 23 in ongoing clinical studies encompassing mRNA infectious disease vaccines.

Moderna’s COVID-19 booster is currently in phase three trials, while the flu vaccine, which also uses mRNA technology, is under development. The flu vaccine is expected to progress from phase two to three trials in the second quarter. In an update in December, the company had noted that the flu vaccine under development generated antibody levels against all four strains of the influenza virus in an early-stage study.

Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine is currently authorized by FDA for emergency use as a two-dose primary series, as well as a single booster dose for adults 18 years and older. The vaccine is yet to get full FDA approval. The FDA is reviewing the Biologics License Application for Spikevax and a decision is expected in April 2022.

The company is also continuing to develop an Omicron-specific variant vaccine (mRNA-1273.529) that is expected to advance into clinical trials in early 2022. Bancel recently said a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot might be required for better protection particularly against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

In 2021, Moderna shipped 807 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which around 25 percent was shipped to low- and middle-income countries. The company plans to ship 2 to 3 billion doses in 2022.

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