Pfizer announces two-in-one vaccine for Covid AND flu — which it hopes will boost sluggish uptake for both shots
- Pharmaceutical giant said the first patient got a dose of the vaccine this week
- It is designed to tackle common Omicron variants as well as the flu
- Vaccine uses mRNA technology popularized during the Covid pandemic
Pfizer is testing a new two-in-one vaccine targeting both Covid and flu amid sluggish uptake of its booster shot.
The pharmaceutical giant said the first patient was given a dose this week in the early stage trails that will run for six months.
The vaccines are designed to tackle Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 — currently dominant in the US — as well as strains of the flu.
Vaccine maker Moderna is also testing a Covid and flu jab, as well as one targeting these two viruses and RSV which is behind America’s winter wave. None are expected to be available in time for this year’s flu season.
Uptake of the updated bivalent booster vaccine is lagging in the US, with just a handful of Americans who are eligible coming forward.
The pharmaceutical giant said the first patient was given a dose this week in the early stage trails that will run for six months (file photo)
Pfizer revealed that the first patient was injected in its Phase 1 trials — the earliest clinical trials — this week.
These tests are to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective, but the new vaccine will need to go throughmore tests before it can be rolled out nationwide.
The trial has recruited 180 people in the US who are between 18 and 64 years old and will be followed for six months.
Annaliesa Anderson, chief scientific officer in vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said the vaccine was based on the mRNA technology used for Pfizer’s pandemic jab.
‘The flexibility and manufacturing speed of the mRNA technology has demonstrated that it is well-suited for other respiratory diseases,” she said.
‘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 immunisation practices against these two respiratory pathogens, potentially leading to better vaccine uptake for both diseases.
‘Even with existing seasonal influenza vaccines, the burden of this virus is severe across the world causing thousands of deaths and hospitalisations every year.
‘This is an exciting step in our ongoing journey with BioNTech as we collectively look to transform the prevention of infectious diseases around the world.’