Pfizer has announced it is working on a two-in-one vaccine that will help protect against both COVID and the flu.
The first patient was inoculated with the vaccine this week in early clinical trials, with a total of 180 patients expected to get the dose.
The single-dose vaccine candidate is a combination of Pfizer’s mRNA-based flu shot and the companies’ Omicron-tailored COVID-19 booster shot.
The early-stage study, which is being sponsored by BioNTech, aims to evaluate the combination shot’s safety, tolerability and immunogenicity, or the ability to generate immune response.
These tests are to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective, but the new vaccine will need to go through more tests before it can be rolled out nationwide.
The trial is being conducted in the United States and the companies aim to enroll 180 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 64. The first participant in the study was dosed earlier this week.
Vaccine maker Moderna is also testing a vaccine targeting Covid and flu, as well as one for these viruses and RSV — behind America’s winter wave. None are expected to be ready for this year’s flu season.
Annaliesa Anderson, chief scientific officer in vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said mRNA technology was ‘well suited’ to tackling other viruses.
“Pfizer is deeply proud of our continued work to explore its potential to protect against influenza and Covid in one combination vaccine,” she said.
“We think [this] could simplify immunisation practices against these two respiratory pathogens, potentially leading to better vaccine uptake for both diseases.
“Even with existing seasonal influenza vaccines, the burden of this virus is severe across the world causing thousands of deaths and hospitalisations every year.”