Home / News / World /  Covid and flu protection in one vaccine? Corona vaccine pioneers next big aim
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An early-stage study to assess a combination vaccine targeting COVID-19 and influenza has been launched by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, according to an announcement made on Thursday.

The Pfizer mRNA-based flu shot and the companies' Omicron-tailored COVID-19 booster shot are combined to form the single-dose vaccine candidate.

The early-stage study, which is funded by BioNTech, aims to assess the combination shot's immunogenicity—or capacity to elicit an immune response—as well as its safety and tolerability.

The companies intend to sign up 180 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 64 for the trial, which is being conducted in the United States. This week, the study's first participant received their dose.

Annaliesa Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Vaccine Research and Development, Pfizer stated, “The flexibility and manufacturing speed of the mRNA technology has demonstrated that it is well-suited for other respiratory diseases.

Anderson further added, "Pfizer is deeply proud of our continued work to explore its potential to protect against influenza and COVID-19 in one combination vaccine, which we think could simplify immunization practices against these two respiratory pathogens, potentially leading to better vaccine uptake for both diseases,"

Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech said, “By combining both indications in one vaccine approach, we aim to provide individuals with an efficient way to receive immunization against two severe respiratory diseases with evolving viruses that require vaccine adaptation."

“The data will also provide us with more insights on the potential of mRNA vaccines addressing more than one pathogen. This will help us to further develop our infectious disease pipeline to deliver on patient centric vaccination approaches," he added.

Competitors Moderna Inc. and Novavax Inc. are also working on combination vaccines that cover both influenza and COVID-19.

Earlier, the World Health Organization had emphasised the need to be attentive as winter approaches due to the increase in COVID and influenza infections in Europe, which is prompting more people to get immunised.

The WHO emphasised the connection between immunisation programmes and the fact that with this latest wave of COVID, deaths and admissions to intensive care are not rising to the same extent as past waves.

(With inputs from agencies)

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