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expert reaction to Moderna announcing top-line Phase 3 data for their combination vaccine candidate against influenza and COVID-19

Scientists react to Phase 3 data on the combination vaccine against COVID-19 and flu. 


Prof John Tregoning, Professor in Vaccine Immunology, Imperial College London, said:

“Moderna have undertaken a phase III clinical trial of their new RNA vaccine that targets both influenza and COVID-19.  This vaccine is a combination vaccine – it contains RNA encoding antigens from 4 influenza viral strains and COVID-19.  In the study they compared responses to volunteers vaccinated with one of two licensed influenza vaccines (not RNA) combined with Moderna’s existing RNA COVID vaccine.  This study was performed in two ages of adults – 50-64 and 65 plus (the older age group being the normal group to receive influenza vaccine).  The readout from the study was the level of antibody against the viruses in the vaccine in the blood of volunteers.  The press release does not include a large amount of data – it is quite a high level summary.  What they state is that if you compare the antibody response between the new Moderna RNA vaccine and the existing licensed vaccines, there is not a significant difference.

“The main conclusion that can be drawn from this press release is that the vaccine is immunogenic; people who volunteered for the study generated anti-influenza and anti-Covid antibodies.  The licensure of influenza vaccines is based upon antibody levels; particularly whether they can block influenza virus.  This specific data is not presented, but it states that more detail will be presented in the future, which will be very helpful to draw opinions about the overall data.  The press release indicates a promising direction of travel, but more information is needed.”



Declared interests

Prof John Tregoning: “I’ve recently co-authored a review article about influenza vaccines with Sanofi.

I have worked with BioNTech previously.”

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