According to a recent EXPRESS article, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is looking to maximize its mRNA technology for a second vaccine. The same messenger ribonucleic concept that propelled their COVID-19 vaccine at warp speed is now being applied to a vaccine for influenza. The company announced it will begin testing the vaccine in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and efficacy.
Traditional flu vaccines are developed in labs that grow the virus inside chicken or mammal cells. The virus is then deactivated and processed into a vaccine to help the body build immunity, but seasonal variations and mutations cause complications. The new mRNA vaccine promises a much quicker development since only the virus’ genetic sequence is needed for production.
The vaccine will be tested on 615 Americans between the ages of 65 and 85, but it’s nothing new. The company has been working on the vaccine in collaboration with BioNTech since 2018. There are more than 5 million flu infections diagnosed each year, which contribute to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide.