American biotechnology company Moderna announced in early July that it had begun testing a similar product.
Pfizer’s clinical trial is taking place in the United States, and will evaluate the safety of the dose of this new vaccine and its immunity (ability to cause an immune reaction) in healthy people aged 65 to 85 years.
According to the details of the clinical trial published on the US government site, this may include a few hundred participants.
Current influenza vaccines use inactivated viruses – this process can take a long time. Target strains of continuously growing virus should be selected for vaccine development six months before the onset of seasonal infection.
The effectiveness of the vaccines used at this time is usually 40% to 60%.
“Messenger enables better interaction with the flexibility of RNA technology and its rapid production, fluid (circulating virus), high delivery reliability and the possibility of improving the effectiveness of current influenza vaccines,” Pfizer said in its release.
The World Health Organization estimates that influenza causes about 3 to 5 million serious illnesses and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths each year.
Pfizer said it plans to study the use of messenger RNA technology against other respiratory viruses, including influenza, and against genetic diseases or cancers.