US Reportedly Close to Finalizing Deal With Moderna to Fund Its Bird Flu Vaccine Trial

By Jace Dela Cruz

May 31, 2024 05:29 AM EDT

The US government is reportedly in the final stages of negotiations to fund a late-stage trial of Moderna's mRNA bird flu vaccine amid the outbreak spreading in dairy cows. 

An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US biotechnology company Moderna on November 17, 2020.
(Photo : JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Bird Flu Vaccine of Moderna

Moderna told Reuters that the company was already discussing advancing its vaccine candidate with the government. However, it did not confirm the funding. 

According to the Financial Times, the federal funding, likely from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), could be finalized as soon as next month.

Citing people familiar with the discussions, the FT reported that a commitment to procure doses is included if late-stage trials yield positive results. 

Moderna's mRNA-1018, an experimental shot, is currently being tested against several virus strains, including the prevalent H5N1 variant. The company has completed dosing in an early-to-mid-stage study of the vaccine and anticipates that data will be available soon.

READ NEXT: Worst Bird Flu Hits US as Iowa Egg Farm Prompted to Kill 4.2 Million Chickens

Bird Flu Vaccines in the US

Despite the existing stock of bird flu vaccines tailored to the current strain and antiviral treatments for human infections in the US, significant stock would be required to effectively address a major epidemic or pandemic. 

The US government is already manufacturing over four million doses of CSL Seqirus bird flu vaccine and is in talks with Pfizer and Moderna for a potential mRNA vaccine. 

READ MORE: US, Europe Move Closer to Vaccinating Poultry and Dairy Workers Against Bird Flu

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