Moderna developing combination COVID-19 booster, flu vaccine shot

Moderna announced on Thursday that it had begun development of a potential vaccine that combines a COVID-19 booster and seasonal flu shot.

“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," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the press release.

Bancel previously told CNBC in April that he hopes to have a booster shot ready and available by the fall.

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“I want to make sure there are boost vaccines available in the fall so that we protect people as we go into the next fall and winter season in the U.S.," he said at the time while appearing on CNBC"s "Squawk Box.”

After Moderna announced its plans to produce a combination shot, its market shares rose by more than 6 percent.

At the start of September, Moderna announced that it had submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine administered six months after a patient receives a second dose of its two-shot regimen. 

Biden administration officials have said they expect to begin offering booster shots of both Pfizer's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines beginning Sept. 20 pending approval from an FDA panel. The agency has already approved booster shots for certain immunocompromised individuals.

Moderna completed its submission to receive full approval for its vaccine from the FDA last month. Moderna's vaccine currently operates under an emergency use authorization.

The FDA granted Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine full approval last month, two days before Moderna completed its submission.

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Though the U.S. appears set to start administering COVID-19 booster shots, world leaders have criticized the move as many other lower- and middle-income countries continue to struggle to administer the vaccines for their people. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, called for a moratorium on booster shots until next year. 

"We have been calling for vaccine equity from the beginning, not after the richest countries have been taken care of," Tedros said at a Wednesday news conference. "I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers."