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A Combination COVID and Flu Vaccine Is Coming Soon

The first large trial of a COVID and flu vaccine combo suggests it boosts immune protection even more than single-target shots

BY FREDA KREIER & NATURE MAGAZINE

A single vaccine has been shown to protect people from both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses — and with a higher effectiveness than vaccines that target one or the other, the pharmaceutical company Moderna has announced.

Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said earlier this month that it had successfully completed phase-III clinical trials for the drug, which — like the company’s pioneering COVID-19 vaccines — is based on mRNA. In a statement to its investors, Moderna said that the vaccine was more effective at providing immunity to adults over the age of 50 than competing flu and COVID-19 shots.

Moderna is now planning to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the vaccine to market.

Combination vaccines can have big public-health benefits, but they are often time-consuming and expensive to develop. Moderna’s latest rapid success shows that RNA can help to overcome some of these difficulties, says James Thaventhiran, a clinical immunologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, “This is a great example of why the technology is exciting,” he says, adding that the combination vaccines using mRNA are “just the beginning” for RNA technology.

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