US drugmaker Moderna has said that it is working on a single Covid vaccine that would work against both Covid and flu. The jab could be ready as early as next year.
According to the company’s UK chief Darius Hughes, an annual “combination” vaccine would be more convenient for patients because it required fewer visits to a medical facility and cut the NHS’s cost of administering vaccinations, Daily Mail reported.
The vaccine against Covid and flu could be available by the winter of 2023 “at a stretch”, Hughes was quoted as saying.
Last year, the NHS sought to reassure patients that administering jabs against flu and Covid at the same time did not affect the immune response.
Moderna is currently also developing a vaccine to specifically tackle the Omicron variant. Early-stage data on its effectiveness is expected within the next two weeks.
Moderna also hopes to create a jab that tackles Covid, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which typically causes mild symptoms but can be serious, especially for infants and older adults, by the winter of 2024, the report said.
“Our No 1 priority for 2022, after getting the right Covid vaccine for the Omicron variant, is to try and really drive forward our flu and RSV programmes to see if we can get a combination, single-dose respiratory vaccine,” Hughes said.
“It would be just fantastic for patients if you could have one appointment — go along, have that jab done, and you are protected against all of those major respiratory diseases for the winter.”
Hughes said that the vaccine will benefit the NHS, and all the vaccination services, and ultimately patients, hugely.
He noted that the vaccine would most likely be given to those who were offered a flu jab before the pandemic, which included over-65s and those with long-term health conditions, the report said.