Pfizer to begin testing universal coronavirus vaccines
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech plan to start clinical trials of pan-coronavirus vaccines in the second half of the year, BioNTech officials said in an investor presentation on Wednesday.
Driving the news: The company said it wants to provide "durable variant protection," according to Reuters, which first reported the news.
Why it matters: Creating a vaccine that works against a variety of coronaviruses, including COVID-19, represents a holy grail — particularly as new variants threaten to outrun our current arsenal of vaccines.
State of play: Universal vaccines have been studied with limited success for years, but they are gaining renewed investment and research interest.
- A pan-coronavirus vaccine, being developed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was planned for a Phase 1 clinical trial in April, CNN reported.
- The NIH announced this week the start of a Phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety of a universal flu vaccine candidate, as well as its ability to prompt immune responses.
- "The scientific community is making progress on this pressing global health priority," said NIAID director Anthony Fauci in a statement.
Be smart: As Axios' Caitlin Owens wrote last year, some experts say making a universal coronavirus vaccine may be easier than making a universal flu vaccine, especially given all that's been learned over the last two years.