UCHealth: Clinical trials for entirely new mRNA flu vaccines launching soon. Will they work better?

UCHealth: Clinical trials for entirely new mRNA flu vaccines launching soon. Will they work better?

The following article, titled “Clinical trials for entirely new mRNA flu vaccines launching soon. Will they work better?” was written by Katie Kerwin McCrimmon for UCHealth Today.

Based on COVID-19 ‘messenger’ RNA or mRNA vaccines, the new flu vaccines could better protect people from multiple types of flu. First up for testing: older people. The Pfizer clinical trial is expected to start in mid-August. The Moderna clinical trial for a combined flu/COVID-19 vaccine will start later this summer or fall. People who wish to be screened to participate my call 720-777-4496 or send an email to PfizerFluVaccineStudy@childrenscolorado.org

Go here for more on Covid in San Miguel County.

Go here for more on Covid from the Telluride Med Center.

Dr. Myron Levin, UCHealth

An entirely new type of flu vaccine could better protect people from influenza, and clinical trials of the vaccines are starting this month.

The new flu vaccines are based on mRNA technology, the same method that was used to create the most common and successful U.S. COVID-19 vaccines, those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

These vaccines use messenger RNA (or mRNA) to “teach” cells to make proteins. These proteins don’t cause illness, but are the same type that we’d get during a COVID-19 or flu infection. The vaccines then train the immune system to prevent actual infections.

The first group of participants in Colorado — 50 people ages 65 to 85 — could start receiving mRNA flu vaccines as early as mid-August. That’s when Dr. Myron Levin, an expert on infectious diseases and vaccines, expects to enroll older adults for the first round of testing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Patients at the UCHealth Seniors Clinic will be able to volunteer for the study, as will other older adults.

The Colorado site is one of about 25 across the country where Pfizer will be conducting early tests on a new mRNA flu vaccine.

In the coming weeks, Levin also expects to enroll volunteers for another clinical trial related to mRNA flu vaccines. Moderna has created a new vaccine that aims to provide combined protection against both flu and COVID-19, including the most recent variants of COVID-19.

While it’s too soon to know whether mRNA flu vaccines will work better than traditional flu jabs, Levin is confident that they will be as safe and effective as the COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’ll just need to confirm their safety and efficacy through the clinical trials,” he said.

Innovations in vaccines are the direct result of global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Levin has developed and tested vaccines for a variety of infections over several decades and said the recent progress is stunning.

“The advancements in developing new approaches to fighting disease, developing vaccines and implementing them have been remarkable,” Levin said.

COVID-19 vaccines clearly have saved millions of lives, he said. While more than a million people have died in the U.S. since the pandemic started, Levin said the death toll would have been far greater without the new mRNA vaccines.

“No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection,” Levin said. “But, without these new vaccines, many more people would have died. The important thing about COVID-19 and influenza vaccines is that, although they sometimes fail to prevent infection, they largely prevent serious disease and death. This is a major goal for these vaccines.”

We asked Levin to explain more about mRNA vaccines and the groundbreaking clinical trials that are starting this summer…

Continue reading here to get answers to the following:

How has the COVID-19 pandemic given rise to new flu vaccines.

I heard that vaccine makers were actually working on mRNA flu shots before the pandemic hit in 2020. Is that true?

Which flu vaccines are you testing in Colorado?

Why do we need new flu vaccines?

When will you start testing mRNA influenza vaccines in Colorado?

How can I volunteer?

How many people will get to participate?

Who is eligible to participate in the clinical trials for the mRNA flue vaccines?

Why are older people at greater risk if the get the flu?

What will the clinical trials for mRNA flu vaccines aim to show?

How do traditional flu vaccines work?

How are new mRNA flu vaccines supposed to work?

How could mRNA flu vaccines work better than traditional vaccines (if clinical trials prove they do indeed work well)?

What are the different types of influenza and will new mRNA flu vaccines combat all of them?

What if I want to participate in the clinical trials, but I also want to get my regular flu shot this fall?

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