Moderna estimates it could launch a joint vaccine against COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus by the end of 2023, the pharmaceutical giant said on Monday, hoping the compound will encourage more people to be immunized.
“At best it would be in the fall of 2023,” Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“I don’t think it can be in all countries, but it is possible to reach some countries next year,” said the director of the pharmaceutical company that manufactures one of the two vaccines against COVID-19 that are based on messenger RNA technology.
Bancel said studies for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are in phase III, the final stage of human testing and the flu phase should enter the third stage in the second quarter of this year.
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“Our goal is to have a single annual booster dose so we don’t have problems with people who don’t want to have to give themselves two or three injections in the winter and get everything in one dose,” he said.
Moderna’s vaccine is based on the virus that causes COVID-19 before it mutates into different variants and Bancel said the company is working on a specific compound against omicron that could be ready for trials in the coming weeks.
“We hope to be able to deliver data to regulators in March so we can determine next steps,” he said.
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Beyond a specific omicron vaccine, which quickly becomes the dominant variant worldwide, laboratories are also in the race to achieve a vaccine that works against all mutations, current and future, of the disease.
“There are some partners in the private sector who are doing this,” said Richard Hatchett, executive director of the Coalition for Innovation and Epidemic Preparedness, an organization that funds vaccine research and development.
“This would be the holy grail because we don’t want to be in a position to always pursue new variants that appear,” he said.
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