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January 18, 2022

Moderna eyes combined Covid-19, flu booster by 2023

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel also said an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine will enter clinical development in a matter of weeks.

By Darcy Jimenez

Moderna is aiming to market a Covid-19 and influenza booster vaccine combo within the next two years, CEO Stéphane Bancel has said.

The single shot offering protection against Covid-19, flu, and the common respiratory virus RSV could be ready ahead of 2023’s winter infectious season, he announced.

“Our goal is to be able to have a single annual booster so that we don’t have compliance issues where people don’t want to get two-to-three shots a winter,” Bancel said, speaking at a World Economic Forum panel session on Monday (17 January).

The US-based company first shared plans to develop a single jab combining its Covid-19 booster with a flu shot back in September, during a presentation to investors.

At the time, Bancel said Moderna could be the first company to bring a “high efficacy, pan-respiratory annual booster” to market.

The CEO also told Monday’s panel that a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine candidate targeting the highly transmissible Omicron variant will enter clinical development in the coming weeks. He added that data on the Omicron-specific jab could be shared with regulators as soon as March.

While many countries are now rolling out third shots of coronavirus vaccines to boost populations’ immunity against Covid-19, Bancel commented earlier this month that a fourth jab could be needed this year as the efficacy of initial vaccinations and booster doses declines.

In December, Israel began administering second booster doses to its most vulnerable or high-risk populations. This week, a preliminary study conducted in the country suggested a fourth Covid-19 vaccine shot helps to boost antibodies but does not provide enough protection to prevent Omicron infections.

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