WASHINGTON — Moderna announced Thursday that it is working on a one-dose vaccine that would serve as a COVID-19 booster shot and also offer protection from the seasonal flu.
The company is calling the new vaccine under development mRNA-1073.
“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 a statement. "We believe our mRNA platform can solve the world’s greatest health challenges, from diseases impacting millions, to ultra-rare diseases impacting dozens, to medicines personalized down to the individual level."
Federal officials are moving ahead with plans to begin administering booster shots of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to boost protection against the more transmissible delta variant of the virus.
Last month Biden announced plans to make them available beginning on Sept. 20, but only the Pfizer vaccine will likely have received regulatory approval for a third dose by that time. Federal regulators are seeking additional data from Moderna that will likely delay its booster approval until October.
U.S. officials are aiming to administer the booster shots about eight months after the second dose of the two-dose vaccines.
On Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to hold off on offering booster shots through the end of the year so countries facing shortages have a chance to catch up.
“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,” he told a news conference. "Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.