Moderna said Thursday it’s developing a booster shot that protects against COVID-19 and the seasonal flu in a single dose.
“Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a Pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade,” Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel told investors, according to Reuters.
The company didn’t reveal a timeline for the development, research or release for the third jab, which it’s calling mRNA-1073.
The new dose combines Moderna’s current coronavirus vaccine with a flu shot that’s also under development, the firm said.
Moderna also announced a series of other new projects and updates, including that it’s currently in “mid-stage” trial testing for use of the vaccine on children aged 6 months to less than 12 years old.
Moderna said it plans to test 50 micrograms of the vaccine on 4,000 children in the age group as part of the pediatric trial.
“Today we are announcing the first step in our novel respiratory vaccine program with the development of a single dose vaccine that combines a booster against COVID-19 and a booster against flu,” Bancel said in a statement Thursday.
The company’s stock price rose after the announcement Thursday, and came a day after the Maryland-based biotechnology company Novavax said it had started an early-stage study to test a combined flu and COVID-19 booster shot.
Last month, the White House announced a plan to begin offering the third jabs to Moderna and Pfizer recipients the week of Sept. 20 — but the Food and Drug Administration has said Moderna’s boosters likely won’t be ready in time.
The Moderna vaccine was authorized for emergency use in people ages 18 and older in the United States in December while a vaccine from the rival firm Pfizer was green-lit for kids ages 12 to 15 years earlier this year.