Combined flu and Covid vaccine ‘triggers stronger immune response’

A combined jab for flu and Covid triggered a stronger immune response than separate single vaccines, according to data released by Moderna.

The results raise hopes the new vaccine could be approved by regulators this year or next, before potentially being rolled out on the NHS.

The US pharmaceutical firm’s Spikevax Covid jab is currently used in the UK’s booster programme, alongside Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty.

The newer version of Spikevax includes a dose of flu vaccine, meaning people would only need one jab rather than two to give them full protection against both viruses.

It was tested in a trial involving 8,000 adults split into two age groups – 50-64 and over 65s.

Participants who received the new mRNA-1083 jab showed higher immune responses against three strains of influenza and Covid, compared with those given one of two standard flu vaccines and a Covid vaccine.

Commenting on the findings, Professor John Tregoning, an expert in vaccine immunology at Imperial College London, said more detailed data would need to be presented.

He added: “The press release indicates a promising direction of travel, but more information is needed.”

Moderna’s chief executive Stephane Bancel said: “Combination vaccines have the potential to reduce the burden of respiratory viruses on health systems and pharmacies, as well as offer people more convenient vaccination options that could improve compliance and provide stronger protection from seasonal illnesses.”

Mr Bancel told the BBC he hoped the vaccine could be made widely available in 2026 – or perhaps, 2025.

Dr Philip Cruz, UK medical director at Moderna, said: “The phase three trial results for mRNA-1083, Moderna’s combination vaccine targeting influenza and Covid-19, have met the primary endpoints, showing a higher immune response in adults over 50 compared to existing flu and Covid vaccines.

“These findings are consistent across all tested influenza strains (H1N1, H3N2 and B/Victoria) and the Sars-CoV-2 variant in both the 65 and older cohort and the 50 to 64 age group.

“For the adult population aged 65 years and older, our combination vaccine has elicited stronger immune responses against Sars-CoV-2 and key influenza strains compared to the active comparators used in the study.

“We are pleased to see mRNA-1083 has successfully met primary end goals.”

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