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US biotech company Moderna said Wednesday it has dosed the first participants in a human study with an mRNA vaccine that targets multiple strains of influenza.
The company plans to recruit 180 adults in the United States to conduct a phase 1/2 trial to assess the safety and strength of the immune response to the ring, called mRNA-1010.
It is based on the same messenger ribonucleic (mRNA) technology used to inject Moderna Covid-19, is more than 90% effective and, if the trial proves successful, could lead to a new generation of preventive flu vaccines.
“We anticipate that the candidate seasonal influenza vaccine will be an important part of the future respiratory family of vaccines,” CEO Stefan Bansel said in a statement.
Most current flu vaccines are based on inactivated viruses implanted in chicken eggs.
Strains must be selected for six to nine months before vaccinations can be used, and their effectiveness is about 40 to 60 percent.
Moderna hopes that the mRNA technology, which elicits an immune response by delivering gene molecules that encode key parts of the pathogen into human cells, will help accelerate development and increase scalability.
Different mRNA molecules encoding different strains can also be delivered in the same snapshot.
The influenza vaccine in development targets four strains of influenza recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO): A (H1N1), A (H3N2), B/Yamagata and B/Victoria.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are approximately three to five million cases of acute influenza each year and 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths associated with influenza.
Moderna also plans to explore a range of potential vaccines against influenza, SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and human granulomatous virus (hMPV).
© 2021 AFP
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