Moderna announces positive preliminary results for a vaccine

Moderna, which developed one of the first messenger RNA vaccines against Covid-19, on Tuesday revealed positive preliminary results for a trial with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes bronchiolitis, in the elderly.

This phase 3 trial is being conducted double-blind in 37,000 people aged 60 and over in 22 countries, including the United States. According to preliminary data, the potential messenger RNA vaccine showed nearly 84% efficacy and was well tolerated. Of 64 cases of patients with the virus exhibiting two or more symptoms, 55 were in the placebo group versus 9 in the vaccinated group, the US lab said.

The Boston-area-based biotech now intends to submit its application for regulatory approval in multiple regions, including Europe, by mid-2023, with a potential market launch in the winter of 2023. 2024.

More than 5 million cases per year among people over 60 years of age

RSV is one of the viruses that causes bronchiolitis, a disease that mainly affects babies. But it can also affect the elderly, for whom a vaccine is not marketed. Thus, there are approximately 5.2 million cases each year among people aged 60 and over in developed countries, causing 500,000 annual hospitalizations.

Each year, the virus causes 30,000 deaths among elderly patients in rich countries, said Dr. Paul Burton, medical director of Moderna, told AFP: “This disease has a heavy toll that has been underestimated,” he continues. The number of doses potentially required has not yet been determined.

“A large proportion of RSV-related deaths are found in low-income countries where access to care is limited,” said Abdullah Baqui, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, the lead proponent of the trial. The vaccine is currently in phase 1 clinical trials with children.

Other labs are working

Messenger RNA technology has proven to be key in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and is seen as promising in the fight against many other diseases.

Moderna is not the only laboratory that has started the fight against RSV. In early November, the European Union approved a preventive treatment for bronchiolitis jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Sanofi. Nirsevimab is not strictly speaking a vaccine, but works with the same preventive intention.

The American group Pfizer recently published positive results for a trial of a vaccine – given to the mother during pregnancy – intended to protect newborns against severe forms of bronchiolitis. Pfizer is also developing an RSV vaccine for people aged 60 and over, which is currently under review by the US health authorities.

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