By Ron Howells • 28 September 2021 • 19:16
Credit: Pfizer Press Centre
Pfizer has started the first human trials of a messenger RNA flu vaccine.
Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer has announced that it has made the first injections to test humans with an influenza vaccine using messenger RNA technology, the same the company already uses in its COVID-19 vaccine.
Another American biotechnology company, Moderna, has also declared that it had launched trials of such a product in early July.
Pfizer’s clinical trial is now taking place in the United States and the company states it will assess the safety of one dose of this new vaccine, as well as its immunogenicity (ability to cause an immune reaction), in healthy people from 65 to 85 years of age.
The trials will include a few hundred participants, according to details posted on a US government site.
Influenza vaccines currently in use contain inactivated viruses – a process that takes a long time to make. The target strains of the constantly evolving virus must therefore be chosen for the development of vaccines about six months before the start of the seasonal epidemic.
The effectiveness of the vaccines used at the moment is generally 40% to 60%. Pfizer began work on its mRNA influenza vaccine in 2018 with its German partner BioNTech, which would receive a royalty upon approval and commercialization.
“The flexibility of messenger RNA technology and its rapid production could potentially allow better association with the strain (of the circulating virus), greater reliability of supply, and the opportunity to improve effectiveness of current influenza vaccines, ”says Pfizer in its press release.
The World Health Organization estimates that influenza is responsible for about 3 to 5 million cases of serious illness each year, and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths.
In addition to influenza, Pfizer said it plans to study the use of messenger RNA technology against other respiratory viruses, as well as against genetic diseases or cancers.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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