A Russian medical research institute would initiate clinical trials of mixed influenza and COVID-19 vaccine at the end of 2022, news agency Sputnik reported on Thursday. According to the news agency, the new development was revealed by the director of Gamaleya Research Center, Alexander Gintsburg -- the developer of Sputnik V vaccine -- during an interview with a Russian newspaper, Izvestia. According to the research centre director, the scientists considering a hybrid vaccine against rotavirus as the base for the COVID-19 drug. Also, the director said that the scientists are working on parallel research to develop a vaccine effective against various variants of the coronavirus.
“The technological platform for this has already been created, but clinical trials have not yet begun. If everything goes well with this platform, it is this technology that will work, then we will move on to a more complex option - combining influenza hemagglutinin antigens and, accordingly, coronavirus S-proteins in one vaccine. The beginning of clinical trials of the new drug is the end of next year," Gintsburg told the Izvestia newspaper.
Notably, in a recent study, the University of Bristol in the UK showed that it is safe to be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. The study claimed it does not negatively affect the immune response caused by both vaccines. "Both injections were given to the subjects on the same day, but in different hands," reported Izvestia citing, University of Bristol research.
The Russian media report said that the side effects reported by the participants were "usually mild to moderate". The tests included three flu and COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca. It is worth mentioning that the Gamaleya Center was not the first centre planning to combine vaccines for two different viral diseases such as influenza and coronavirus. Earlier in November last year, the Russian Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology "Vector" began researching its vaccine on laboratory animals. The results of the work are yet to be published. According to Izvestia, apart from Vector, Gamaleya Center has been in competition with the American vaccine manufacturing company, Moderna. It is also developing a single vaccine against coronavirus and influenza is the American Moderna. According to a Moderna press release, the new RNA vaccine will combine the current version of the coronavirus drug and the flu shot - it is under development.