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    Influenza vaccine could lead to the next big modernina, Pfizer mRNA development

    Employees in special suits will test the procedure for making messenger RNA (mRNA) for the Covid-19 vaccine at BioNTech, a German company in Marburg, Germany, on March 29, 2021.

    Abdul Hamid Hosbus | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

    The research and development that led to the Covid-19 vaccine has helped to find a stronger and longer lasting flu vaccine, perhaps taking a step towards the Holy Grail of virologists.

    Scientist Pfizer When ModanaThe pharmaceutical companies that created the Covid vaccine using half a century of research on mRNA technology are using the same know-how in finding ways to inoculate the masses from the flu.

    “As demonstrated by the COVID-19 vaccine, the mRNA vaccine … offers the potential to produce a stronger influenza vaccine faster than modern influenza vaccines,” said Pfizer’s virus vaccine, based in New York City. Pilada Safapifat, Vice President of Research, told CNBC. Email. “The pandemic has created an immense scientific opportunity for mRNA.”

    In 2020, the number of influenza cases dropped sharply. This is primarily due to Covid’s limitations.However, as this winter begins, influenza infections and hospitalizations continue to increase on a weekly basis, especially in the eastern and central states. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fluview Report..

    The CDC constantly recommends influenza vaccines each year as the best way to protect against viral infections and their potentially serious complications. However, there are signs that the influenza vaccination rate this season is lower than last time. this is, Vaccine hesitation during a coronavirus pandemic..

    In North America, one influenza virus (A (H3N2) this season) is usually predominant each year, but tetravalent jabs are the other three strains that can cause infection when the virus mutates monthly. Designed to protect against.

    This shotgun approach acknowledges the fact that the flu vaccine is only 40% to 60% effective in preventing infections and only 10% by the end of the flu season. Traditional influenza vaccines grow on either chicken eggs or mammalian cells and take about 6 months to produce the required millions of doses.

    Conversely, the design of an mRNA-based influenza vaccine requires only the predominant viral gene sequence, which significantly reduces production time. Pfizer reports that the flexibility of mRNA technology and its rapid production time may improve strain compatibility, increase supply reliability, and improve the effectiveness of current influenza vaccines.

    “I think mRNA is the ideal technology to tackle this challenge,” adds Suphaphiphat.

    Dissemination of mRNA technology

    The technology behind messenger RNA (mRNA) has been developed since it was discovered in 1960, but the Pfizer and Model Nacovid vaccines were first approved for use in humans.

    It is currently being applied to the development of several different vaccines.Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech said they would develop earlier this month Potential mRNA-based vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster, Scientists, technology Turning point for HIV vaccine development..

    “MRNA is a platform,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said on Monday about the broader vaccine ambitions on CNBC’s squawk box. “Because mRNA is an information molecule, 44 zero programs are currently under development, and in fact there are even more in the lab.”

    Focusing on respiratory illness, Bansel said there are about 10 viruses that lead to hospitalization each year.

    “Of course, influenza is very well known, but RSV and many other viruses that are less commonly known because their symptoms resemble influenza are simply the world containing all of these various vaccines. We believe it deserves an annual booster. A single dose to influenza, RSV, and Covid is adequately adapted to the circulating strains here, and that’s what we’re working on. ” Said.

    Modena is piloting an RSV and flu program and “is working very quickly to combine them,” Bansel said.

    “In my opinion, adding the vaccine to the same vial is like getting an annual upgrade of the product, so it can be geographically adapted to the current strain of the year. In the United States, Europe, or Japan, it is recognized that influenza vaccines do not work due to the high winters, because in reality there are various strains in circulation around the world. “

    In September, Pfizer announced the start of Phase 1 human trials of the mRNA vaccine for adults, marking the company’s first mRNA-based influenza program. It is a so-called tetravalent vaccine, as is commonly administered today, targeting four different influenza variants.

    In December, Moderna released the first positive interim data from a Phase 1 trial of a 4-valent seasonal influenza vaccine candidate called mRNA-1010 in the elderly and young. The company also announced that Phase 2 trials of mRNA-1010 have been fully enrolled and preparations for Phase 3 trials are underway.

    Although generally encouraging, Moderna’s mRNA-based flu vaccine has nevertheless proved to be less effective for the elderly than shots already approved on the market, especially Sanofi’s Fluzone HD. .. After the presentation of the findings by Moderna investors, its share fell by 10%. “We can’t make a direct comparison. (Influenza data) was presented only as guidance,” an executive at a company said in a conference call with investors, urging them to wait for more data before selling their shares.

    Large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Moderna have typically avoided early-stage research and development of influenza vaccines because they have historically generated modest revenues. The global influenza vaccine market is estimated at $ 6.59 billion by 2021. Fortune Business Insight And it is projected to grow to $ 10.73 billion in 2028 with a CAGR of 7.2% during that forecast period. According to the company, global revenue for the pharmaceutical industry as a whole in 2020 was $ 1.27 trillion. Statista..

    But the Covid vaccine is a completely different story.

    Pfizer said in November that it reported third-quarter earnings while forecasting that the coronavirus vaccine would generate $ 36 billion in revenue in 2021. At the same time, Moderna lowered its 2021 Covid vaccine revenue forecast from $ 15 billion to $ 18 billion. From a previous estimate of $ 20 billion, partly due to production issues.

    With more than 832,000 Covid-related deaths in the United States and more than 5.4 million worldwide, the general public is on the lookout for seasonal flu from October to May. Still, it has its own deadly history of four influenza pandemics (1918, 1957, 1968, 2009) in the last century, each killing at least one million people. there is.

    From 2010 to 2020, the CDC estimates that influenza causes 12,000 to 52,000 deaths each year in the United States and causes 9 to 41 million infectious diseases. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that influenza kills 290,000 to 650,000 people each year.

    Increased R & D costs

    Despite these horrific statistics, R & D and funding for improving influenza vaccines is relatively small and primarily confined to academia, biotechnology start-ups, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). increase.

    The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) unit has an annual budget for universal influenza vaccines of approximately $ 220 million, some of which will go to the Joint Influenza Vaccine Innovation Center (CIVIC), which was launched in 2019. It is distributed as a grant. By comparison, NIH has allocated nearly $ 7 billion to research on cancer that killed 606,520 people in 2020.

    Last November, Connecticut Congressman Rosa de Lauro and Massachusetts Senator Ed Marquee reintroduced the influenza vaccine law. This is a bill that proposes to invest $ 1 billion in NIH’s influenza research project, which involves external collaboration.

    Dozens of other flu vaccine research and development projects are underway in the United States, some of which are known as transseasonal shots that can prevent recipients from being infected for years. Some are looking for. A team led by Neil King, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is using a computer to design new self-assembled protein nanoparticles, and a promising program is underway at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Protein Design Institute in Seattle. is. vaccination.

    “The vaccine is in a small phase I trial at NIH,” King said. “Volunteers have been administered and have begun analysis.” He said that results would be available in a few months and that they would be approved by the FDA “within the next five years” after Phases 2 and 3 trials. I’m expecting it.

    NIAID is involved in Phase I trials of several influenza vaccines, said Dr. Jennifer Gordon, Program Officer for Influenza Vaccine Development. one Released in 2019, another Last June, each adopted a different scientific approach.

    Dr. Gordon hopes that a truly one-off flu vaccine will one day be realized without a specific time frame, but in the meantime, he will not miss the creation of a better vaccine. “We don’t want to say that we only care about vaccines that last forever,” she said. “There is an approach that will significantly improve what we currently have and bring big wins, if not universal.”

    Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday, with recent research collaboration, almost a few days a month to a few days, an important part of the entire RNA vaccine manufacturing process, especially through DNA technology.

    “This can significantly reduce the availability of new variant vaccines as needed, rather than three to two months. This can significantly reduce the availability of new variant vaccines, for example, with other illnesses such as Covid and the flu. It brings dramatic benefits to the fight against the flu, which can bring new variants very close to the time of distribution, “Bourla said.

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    Influenza vaccine could lead to the next big modernina, Pfizer mRNA development

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    The post Influenza vaccine could lead to the next big modernina, Pfizer mRNA development appeared first on Eminetra.

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