Vaccine maker Novavax said Monday that an early study in animals of a combination COVID-19 and flu vaccine produced a positive immune response.
The combination vaccine produced “robust” antibody responses to both coronavirus and the flu in a study in ferrets, the company said. The shot is still early in the development process, and the company said clinical trials in humans “are expected to begin by the end of the year.”
"Despite low rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza remains a significant risk to global public health and the need for versatile, more effective vaccines is as important as ever, including against the flu,” said Gregory Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development. "We believe that this novel combination vaccine candidate ... could be an important future tool in the long-term fight against both of these harmful respiratory viruses."
Novavax is also preparing to file for authorization for a vaccine solely aimed at COVID-19, which is much farther along in the process. That vaccine was almost 90 percent effective in a trial in the United Kingdom, though it dropped to around 50 percent effective against the South African coronavirus variant.
The company is not expected to file for emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine until at least June, The Washington Post reported.
While supplies of vaccines in the United States are high enough that supply is exceeding demand in many places, the Novavax vaccine could play an important role in providing more doses to other countries that are facing a pressing need.