Nov 3, 2022 - Health

Pfizer and BioNTech study COVID-flu combo vaccine

Illustration of two different syringes twisting together

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said Thursday they have started evaluating a combination COVID 19-flu vaccine using the companies' Omicron booster.

Why it matters: A combined vaccine could simplify immunizations and simultaneously fight two respiratory diseases that require repeated vaccinations.

  • Moderna and Novavax are also developing combination COVID and flu shots.

Details: Pfizer and BioNTech aim to enroll 180 U.S. volunteers between the ages of 18 and 64 for an early-stage trial to assess the safety, efficacy and optimal dosage. The first participant received a dose of the combination shot this week.

  • The candidate vaccine combines an mRNA influenza vaccine with the companies' COVID-19 shot based on the BA.4 BA.5 variants.

Between the lines: While COVID case counts remain low in the U.S., public health efforts are increasingly focused on new ways to address multiple threats, like a "tripledemic" of more transmissible variants, a major uptick in RSV cases and worse-than-usual flu season.

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