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Moderna Begins Administering Their Investigational Influenza Vaccines

The investigational shots utilizing their mRNA technology platform are being studied in adults in the US.


Earlier this week, Moderna announced it had begun dosing in their phase 1/2 study of the company's seasonal influenza vaccine candidates, mRNA-1020 and mRNA-1030.

"We are pleased to apply Moderna's mRNA platform to address the longstanding design and manufacturing challenges associated with developing seasonal influenza vaccines. We believe that by targeting both hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, we can achieve broader immunity and higher vaccine efficacy against circulating influenza strains than traditional influenza vaccines,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, said. “Moreover, we expect that our platform's flexibility in targeting multiple strains coupled with our ability to manufacture quickly will facilitate production of a vaccine that matches the predominant circulating influenza strain."

According to Moderna, the study will be an observer-blind, dose-ranging trial to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a single dose of mRNA-1020 or mRNA-1030 in healthy adults 18 years and older in the United States.

The 2 candidates, mRNA-1020 and mRNA-1030, each include eight mRNAs, targeting both hemagglutinin and neuraminidase at different doses and ratios. Similar to Moderna's influenza vaccine candidate mRNA-1010, mRNA-1020 and mRNA-1030 will target the strains recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the prevention of influenza, including seasonal influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and influenza B/Yamagata and B/Victoria.

During its third annual Vaccines Day at the end of March, Moderna announced developments of its new vaccine programs and reviewed data of its vaccines. The company is utilizing its mRNA technology platform for multiple disease states, and have investigational vaccines in various phases of development and study.

Moderna is developing its mRNA-1230 vaccine to cover SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as another candidate, mRNA-1287, for endemic human coronaviruses: HCoV-229E, -NL63, -OC43 and -HKU1.

Additionally, they are developing their influenza and COVID-19 combination vaccine, mRNA-1073, which they say will be in phase 1 this year; have 2 HIV investigational vaccines, which have both entered phase 1 trials; and have latent virus vaccines in the pipeline including for: Herpes Simplex Virus-1, Herpes Simplex Virus-2, Varicella zoster virus, Epstein-Barr Virus, and Cytomegalovirus.

Moderna believes the mRNA platform can transform the vaccine market because of the technology’s ability to develop candidates faster, combine vaccines, and can target difficult viral targets.

“The mRNA platform is extremely versatile because it delivers instructions to the body to make proteins that can perform a wide range of functions,” Moderna Associate Director, ID Bacteriology, Infectious Diseases, Sunny Himansu, MBBS, DSM, explained. “For example, mRNA vaccines train the body to fight infection by delivering the instructions to make key parts of specific pathogens, as we’ve done with our COVID-19 vaccine.”