Moderna officially started its human clinical trials Wednesday of its new mRNA-based influenza vaccines. The company announced Wednesday the first participants of the new study were dosed in the first phase of the two-phase trial.
"We look forward to advancing our core modality of prophylactic (preventative ) mRNA vaccines so that we can continue to make an impact on global public health," ModernaCEO Stéphane Bancel said.
Moderna said its aim is to develop a shot to protect people against COVID-19, the flu, and upper respiratory infections in one shot.
"Our vision is to develop an mRNA combination vaccine so that people can get one shot each fall for high efficacy protection against the most problematic respiratory viruses," Bancel said.
The self-appointed inventor of the mRNA technology, Dr. Robert Malone, warned it is still new, and the spike protein used in mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 is "very dangerous."
Other critics have come out against the use of mRNA technology, including Geert Vanden Bossche, who holds a PhD in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, and has worked with companies such as GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, and Solvay Biologicals in various roles to develop vaccines.
More notably, Bossche worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to develop vaccines against Ebola. While working for GAVI, Bossche criticized the safety of Ebola vaccine trials performed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Guinea.
But, in relation to COVID-19, Bossche wrote a letter to two doctors, who, as Bossche sees it, are taking part in a censoring campaign against critics of this new mRNA technology being used in COVID-19 vaccines.
"As far as their lessons in ethics are concerned, I think time has come," Bossche writes, "[to] focus on the single most important ethical principle which is 'respect and preservation of human life.'"
"It is clear that stubbornness and a blind indoctrination approach are not going to best serve this principle unless they are willing to assume full responsibility by publicly declaring that the ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, especially using mRNA vaccines (!), will undoubtedly confer herd immunity and take control of the growing panoply of viral variants, including those that are now coming close to resisting current COVID-19 vaccines."
Moderna is the second group this summer to start testing its mRNA flu shot in human trials alongside Sanofi and Translate Bio. Pfizer and BioNTech have also been interested in the mRNA flu shots for a few years and are expected to move forward with their plans.
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