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mrna: Pharmaceutical companies are focusing on mRNA technology for influenza vaccination

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Nature reports that with Covid-19 demonstrating the reliability of mRNA technology, many pharmaceutical companies are competing to apply the same formula to develop a vaccine for influenza.

Moderna, Pfizer, and Sanofi have launched Phase 1 trials of RNA-based seasonal influenza vaccine candidates in recent months, but more companies will follow the lead next year.

However, unlike Covid-19, mRNA-based flu vaccination can also be a more difficult test, as nine flu jabs from four different vaccine makers are already available in the United States alone.

Shots built around inactivated viruses or recombinant proteins are safe, but usually provide only 40-60% protection from infection.

At the same time, mRNA-based jabs have the potential to produce a broader immune response, better sequence fidelity of proteins, and accurate strain selection. In addition, this technology makes it easy to incorporate a large number of antigens. All of this can lead to enhanced immune protection, the report said.

But mRNA also COVID Shots developed by Moderna and Pfizer-Often cause arm pain, headaches, low-grade fever, and malaise. These same symptoms can occur with approved flu shots, but are usually much milder.

On the other hand, the potential benefits of mRNA for preventing influenza are largely due to how it is manufactured.

“Because the mRNA vaccine is synthetically produced, it provides high fidelity by encoding the target antigen sequence into a plasmid template. The encoded antigen is the influenza selected for the annual vaccine. It is exactly the same as the strain. In contrast, inactivated virus vaccine cell-based systems made from eggs often suffer from sequence mutations that undermine their effectiveness. ”

Recombinant protein vaccines offer the same fidelity benefits, but these manufacturing processes are relatively cumbersome.

The flexibility and speed of mRNA vaccine production also means that pharmaceutical companies can wait longer to start production. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, production will begin in May instead of February. This will allow more informed decisions about which strains to include, the report said.

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