New flu and Covid jab combo 'provokes higher immune response' amid NHS hopes

Moderna's latest innovation, a combined flu and Covid vaccine, has sparked excitement with its higher immune response compared to separate jabs, the company reports.

The promising results have raised hopes for regulatory approval within this year or the next, potentially making it available on the NHS. A Moderna spokesperson expressed their aim for the jab to be ready for the 2025 or 2026 flu seasons.

Currently, the NHS booster programme utilises Moderna's Spikevax vaccine for Covid-19, alongside Pfizer/BioNTech's Comirnaty. Moderna has developed and tested a new version of Spikevax that incorporates a flu vaccine dose.

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This innovative combination would allow individuals to receive protection against both Covid-19 and flu with a single shot instead of two. This marks the first instance of a company publishing final phase 3 data for a combined vaccine.

Moderna's findings indicate that their mRNA-1083 vaccine achieved its targets, eliciting stronger immune responses against both flu and Covid than existing single vaccines, 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.”