Testing with two-in-one Covid and flu jab in the pipeline

A two-in-one COVID and flu jab is being tested, vaccination developer Moderna has announced. Scientists have developed an alternative to existing separate vaccinations with an already ongoing trial.

And this can be expanded from a two-in-one jab to a three-in-one vaccination to cover not only coronavirus and influenza but also the lung infection RSV. The trial is scheduled to begin within the next two months and if successful, it could be available as early as the winter of 2024.

Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr. Paul Burton, was speaking as he called for action on the current vaccination policy. He said people could find themselves “under-protected and under-vaccinated” if the government kept up with its rules that could severely limit the fourth jab. And he called on younger adults and children to be eligible for booster jabs in the autumn

Dr Burton said limiting the booster age to 65 would leave “a lot of vulnerable people vulnerable”. Immunization advisories in the UK have said that those over 65, frontline health and social care workers, aged care home residents and adults aged 16 to 64 are invited to an autumn booster “in a clinical risk group”. should go.

The pharmaceutical firm also announced that its variant vaccine – specifically designed to combat the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 – has a “higher” and “stronger” response against sub-variants of the Omicron variant. Generates antibody response – BA.4 and BA.5. “We think this is a strong, potent antibody response, it’s probably going to be long-lasting,” Dr. Burton said.

He said the firm’s variant vaccine could be a “turning point” in the fight against Covid-19. And he said it “might allow us to overtake this virus for the first time”.

They said the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants were “more pathogenic” with a higher risk of hospital admission than the original Omicron strain. Dr. Burton pointed to data from South Africa, where hospital admissions appear to be higher, when BA.4 and BA.5 were the predominant strains, compared to the original Omicron variant.

He also pointed to studies that have suggested that the subtypes are better at causing fewer lung infections than the original Omicron strain – making sore throats and runny noses more likely. Infections of the lower lungs can lead to an increase in cases of pneumonia.

Asked whether the eligibility criteria for the booster program should be re-evaluated, Dr Burton said: “I think what we’re going to see in the autumn is a lot of people who are less vaccinated, less-protected Because maybe they got a boost last November, December, for the holidays, but now they’ll have a long hiatus where they didn’t have a booster.

“So people are getting less vaccinated and less protected and I think limiting the booster age to 65 would leave many other vulnerable people vulnerable. Clearly governments have to make their own public health decisions, but my The understanding is that really for this upcoming booster season, a wider opportunity to vaccinate everyone, including children, is probably warranted for consideration.”

He said the firm was about to file for regulatory approval for the variant jab “within days”. He added that it may also be worth it for the government to replace its existing stock of the original modern jab with the new variant jab.

“We’ve talked with public health bodies in the UK, I think there is a definite interest in 214 (the variant vaccine). I think the immunity we see with the original vaccines is clear and those bodies understand that the virus Mutating quickly.”

On the efficacy of the variant jab, he said: “Promoting (variant vaccine) with (variant vaccine) or primary vaccination could really be a turning point in our fight against the virus as we can now see that these high antibody levels should provide a lasting antibody response.” He continued: “There is some published data that if you are vaccinated (original) it reduces transmission, it reduces shedding.

“It certainly prevents serious illness and hospitalization. And so I think if we can roll out with this vaccine for late summer, early autumn, boosting, I think This will really allow us to get ahead of the first virus.

“So I think it’s important I think it can play a role in preventing transmission, shedding, and I think it will certainly protect the population against infection and certainly against serious disease.” He said the firm is making hundreds of millions of doses of the variant vaccine and is ready to supply large quantities to the UK.

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