Moderna CEO: Vaccine targeting both coronavirus and influenza in the works

The head of US pharmaceutical firm Moderna says it is developing a vaccine that protects against multiple diseases including COVID-19 and influenza.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel was speaking in an interview with NHK in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Bancel expressed eagerness to make vaccines more convenient and simple.

He revealed that his company is working on a single vaccine for three infections: COVID-19, influenza and respiratory virus RSV, which afflicts mostly children.

Bancel also said Moderna will apply for use in Japan of a vaccine targeting the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant as soon as preparations are made.

He also revealed plans to have an mRNA vaccine for influenza available to the public next year.

Bancel explained that because such a vaccine can be made in two months using mRNA technology, Moderna will consult Japanese authorities from spring through summer on which type of virus to target.

This would allow the company to supply high-efficacy vaccines after confirming what type of flu is expected to spread.

Bancel added that in addition to vaccine development, Moderna has begun a project to provide mRNA designed by researchers based on genetic data, so that the technology can be used to treat various diseases.

He expressed hope to work with Japanese universities and research institutions, and combine experts' deep knowledge with the company's technology to provide better products.