Pfizer Inc. entered into a Phase Three clinical trial for a new mRNA-based influenza vaccine, which will rely on the same controversial technology as the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The pharmaceutical giant’s clinical trial will “evaluate the efficacy, safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the company’s quadrivalent modified RNA (modRNA) influenza vaccine candidate in approximately 25,000 healthy U.S. adults,” according to a company press release.
Citing “our experience with RNA viruses and mRNA technology,” in reference to its COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer claimed it had gained “an even deeper understanding of the opportunity to potentially provide more efficacious vaccines,” according to Annaliesa Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Vaccine Research and Development at the company.
“We are excited to start the first Phase 3 efficacy study of an mRNA-based influenza vaccine that could potentially deliver an improved flu vaccine to help address the significant burden of this disease,” she continued.
The company claimed that the “flexibility of mRNA technology and its rapid manufacturing” would allow it to create “better strain matches in future years,” and “rapid, large-scale manufacturing of vaccines.”
The news comes amidst continued controversy over Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines which also use mRNA technology.
Studies into the vaccine have shown adverse effects on the health of its recipients, including altered menstrual cycles in women, lowered sperm count in men, and cardiovascular problems in children and young adults. Trace amounts of COVID-19 vaccines were also detected in the breastmilk of new mothers.
Questions also persist about the true efficacy of the vaccines, as several studies have demonstrated that natural immunity is superior to COVID-19 vaccination and that the recommended booster regimen may not protect recipients as strongly as promised.
Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRNA vaccine technology, has also repeatedly criticized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines, warning of health risks particularly among younger children.