Moderna Just Made This Major Announcement About Its COVID Vaccine
The vaccine manufacturer is planning a new path forward for the current shot.
There are a lot of potential changes on the horizon for Moderna. In August, the vaccine manufacturer completed its submission to receive full approval for its vaccine in people 18 years and older from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is still being reviewed. Then, earlier this month, Moderna submitted another application for a booster dose, requesting authorization to give half-doses to the general public as a supplemental third shot. Now, Moderna is planning to evolve its COVID vaccine in another way.
On Sept. 9, Moderna revealed that it is developing a single-dose vaccine that protects against both COVID and the seasonal flu. "Today we are announcing the first step in our novel respiratory vaccine program with the development of a single dose vaccine that combines a booster against COVID-19 and a booster against flu," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.
According to the announcement, this new vaccine, called mRNA-1073, will combine Moderna's existing COVID vaccine and its flu vaccine candidate, which is currently under development and will begin a trial study soon.
"Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade," Bancel said during Moderna's R&D day for investors, per NBC News. "We believe this is just the beginning of a new age of information-based medicines."
"What we're trying to do at Moderna actually is to get a flu vaccine in the clinic this year and then combine our flu vaccine to our COVID vaccine so you only have to get one boost at your local CVS store … every year that would protect you to the variant of concern against COVID and the seasonal flu strain," Bancel said during an April interview on Squawk Box.
This new development comes as experts predict that the flu will come back with a vengeance this year. According to The Wall Street Journal, flu cases were at an all-time-low last season, with only around a few thousand cases compared to an estimated 38 million cases two years ago. But these lower numbers aren't expected to last. Doctors and researchers say that a combination of factors mean that the coming flu season is not only on track to be more severe than last year's, but could also strike earlier than usual, per the WSJ.