Biopharmeceutical company Pfizer Inc. is teaming up with the German BioNTech SE to conduct an early-stage study to analyze a vaccination capable of protecting individuals against COVID-19 and influenza.
The companies announced on Thursday that the single-dose vaccine candidate would be made up of the Omicron booster shot and the mRNA flu shot produced by Pfizer.
The study will evaluate whether the shot is tolerable, as well as safer, for human patients or if it has the ability to produce a response by the immune system. One hundred-eighty human participants from the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 64 will be used in the study,
"The flexibility and manufacturing speed of the mRNA technology has demonstrated that it is well-suited for other respiratory diseases," said Pfizer's chief scientific officer Annaliesa Anderson in a statement. "Pfizer is deeply proud of our continued work to explore its potential to protect against influenza and COVID-19 in one combination vaccine, which we think could simplify immunization practices against these two respiratory pathogens, potentially leading to better vaccine uptake for both diseases."
"Even with existing seasonal influenza vaccines, the burden of this virus is severe across the world causing thousands of deaths and hospitalizations every year. This is an exciting step in our ongoing journey with BioNTech as we collectively look to transform the prevention of infectious diseases around the world," Anderson added.
The first participant to receive the dose was given the combined vaccine earlier this week. Meanwhile, competitor drugmaker Moderna Inc. is working with Novavax to also create a vaccine capable of fighting both COVID-19 and influenza.
Although the U.S. COVID-19 rate is declining, companies are still looking to develop different protections against variants of the infectious disease.