Combined flu and Covid vaccine from Moderna shows positive trial results

A combined flu and Covid vaccine from Moderna provokes a higher immune response than separate single jabs, according to new data from the firm.

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

A spokesman for Moderna said they hoped the jab would be available for the 2025 or 2026 flu season.

At the moment, Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine for Covid-19 is used in the NHS booster programmes, alongside Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty.

A newer version of Spikevax has been created and tested by Moderna, which includes a dose of flu vaccine.

The combination means people would only need one jab rather than two, as at the moment, to give them protection against Covid-19 and flu.

This is the first time final phase 3 data for a combined vaccine has been published by any firm.

The findings from Moderna showed that the mRNA-1083 vaccine met its goals and led to higher immune responses against flu and Covid than other single vaccines currently in use, including the current Spikevax.

Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, 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.

“Moderna is the only company with a positive phase 3 flu and Covid combination vaccine.

“Building on the momentum of positive phase 3 data across our respiratory portfolio, we continue to address significant unmet medical needs and advance public health.”

The mRNA-1083 jab matched or bettered current flu jabs and was better than the existing Spikevax at making the body produce antibodies – probably because it had been designed to fight more recent variants circulating around the world, Mr Bancel told the BBC.

The randomised controlled trial involved two groups of about 4,000 people each, with the first group aged 65 and over testing the new jab compared with a flu vaccine, Fluzone, and the current Spikevax jab.

The second group included adults aged 50 to 64 and included use of the flu jab Fluarix.

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.”