Moderna’s COVID, flu combination vaccine shows stronger immune response, company announces

Doctor giving injection to senior woman at hospital.

Moderna is working on a single vaccine that it says will protect people against both COVID-19 and the flu.

The vaccine is not yet available but tests, according to Moderna, are showing that it gave a stronger immune response for people who are 50 or older when compared to separate shots, Reuters reported.

The study was a randomized, observer-blind, active control study, CNN reported. The people administrating the shots didn’t know who got which vaccine. About 8,000 people in two age groups were tested.

The vaccine uses messenger RNA to protect against the illnesses and had a higher response against two A strains (H1N1, H3N2) and one B strain (B/Victoria) of the flu, the strains that the Food and Drug Administration told drugmakers to target with seasonal flu vaccines for 2024.

It did have some side effects; the most common were pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain and headache, ABC News reported.

“When we think about the combination vaccine, we often only think about the element of convenience, one shot instead of two, but what is really, really breakthrough is the fact that you not only offer that advantage, you also offer the proof of clinical benefit. I think this is the most important message,” Moderna’s Chief Medical Affairs Officer Francesca Ceddia said, according to CNN.

The shots are still being investigated, albeit in the late stages, and won’t be ready until the 2025 flu season at the earliest, the company said, according to Reuters.

There is still more testing to do, and Moderna will have to apply to the FDA before it is available, ABC News reported.

Moderna is the first of several companies testing combination vaccines to announce positive results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 35 million to 64 million people had the flu last season. Between 390,000 and 810,000 people had to be hospitalized while up to 71,000 people died.

COVID, on the other hand, hospitalized more than half a million people last fall and winter, and another 40,000 people died from the illness, CNN reported.

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