Pfizer starts study of mRNA Flu vaccine

On September 28, 2021, Pfizer Inc. announced that the first batch of participants have been dosed with the single dose quadrivalent mRNA vaccine in a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Highlights

  • Under the phase 1 trial, safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the single dose quadrivalent mRNA vaccine will be studied against influenza in healthy adults.
  • mRNA influenza vaccine program of Pfizer is the first in a planned wave of programs to leverage mRNA technology for influenza.
  • Pfizer has also planned to explore mRNA in other respiratory viruses and medically appropriate vaccines combinations which could provide protection against virus.
  • Company has also planned to expand the development of mRNA technology in oncology and genetic diseases.

Background

Pfizer has been working since 2018 to develop a potential mRNA influenza vaccine. This is driven by deep understanding of infectious diseases and extensive experience of researching, developing and implementing new vaccine technologies. COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the company to deliver immense scientific opportunity of mRNA.

How Conventional seasonal influenza vaccines are developed?

Conventional seasonal influenza vaccines are usually developed by growing the virus in chicken eggs or mammalian cells. These viruses are used in inactivated form and are processed to be made into a vaccine. This process go through several challenges such as producing immunogenic antigens, alterations in vaccine antigens and keeping up with virus strain changes. The circulating influenza strains changes continuously. So, prediction of the best match for next season’s vaccine is a big challenge for global health experts.

mRNA-based influenza vaccine

mRNA-based influenza vaccine is developed through genetic sequence of the virus. This technology is flexible; thus, it allows better strain match, greater reliability of supply as well as potential opportunity to improve the efficacy of current flu vaccines.

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