The onset of a flu vaccine trial using messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology could lead to a single jab targeting multiple respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, vaccine maker Moderna said on Wednesday.
Moderna’s goal of making a single vaccine against multiple viruses was included in a press release announcing the onset of a phase 1 study of mRNA-1010, the company’s seasonal influenza vaccine candidate. The company said it plans to enroll 180 participants in the trial.
“Respiratory combination vaccines are an important pillar of our overall mRNA vaccine strategy”, the release said. “We believe that the advantages of mRNA vaccines include the ability to combine different antigens to protect against multiple viruses”.
Conventional vaccines use all or part of a modified pathogen to trigger an immune response. In contrast, the mRNA – used in both Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 jabs – instructs cells to produce copies of the spike protein on the coronavirus surface. The protein then causes the body to develop immunity.
Messenger RNA vaccines offer a number of advantages over traditional inoculations in that they can be quickly designed and scaled up, using a manufacturing process that is highly adaptable to different pathogens, according to the National Institutes of Health.