With the initial results of a phase I/II trial, biotech company Novavax reports that the robust immune response produced by its combination COVID-19/flu vaccine is on par with individual flu and COVID jabs. The trial, which was conducted in Australia, included 642 older adults aged 50 to 70 who had received an initial series of one of the available COVID vaccines.
Using a modeling-based strategy, researchers sought to determine an optimal dose of the vaccine. Their modeling helped them discover that antigen amounts could be reduced by up to half via the combined formulation, significantly boosting production and delivery. Novavax has plans to embark on a phase III study, possibly amid the next flu season. The company will have to wait and see if infection rates are high enough to enable the study, as the precautions taken to prevent the contraction of COVID-19, such as masks and social distancing, have dampened flu cases worldwide.
Luckily for Novavax, the malleability of their combo vaccine will be simplified due to the recombinant protein-based nanoparticle technology in play. “The beauty and the flexibility of our platform is that it’s not a big deal for us,” said Novavax Chief Medical Officer Dr. Filip Dubovsky. “If we’re generating an omicron vaccine, we can easily incorporate it into a quadrivalent product like we have for flu. If there’s a bivalent, and that needs to be incorporated in, that’s a possibility as well.”