Woman at the mobile influenza vaccination station at the metro station

A single influenza and coronavirus vaccine at the Vector Center will differ from EpiVacCorona – it will be based on influenza A and B viruses… At the same time, the developed the drug will be adjusted for new strains and flu, and COVID-19 every season through the use of genetic engineering and reverse genetics. This was announced to Izvestia at the Novosibirsk Scientific Center, noting that the vaccine is undergoing laboratory tests. Meanwhile at the WHO “Izvestia” was told that the expert group of the organization is studying the simultaneous administration of vaccines against influenza and COVID-19 and encourages all drug developers to review this issue. Experts interviewed by Izvestia warned: vaccination against only one of the viruses does not in any way reduce the severity of the course of the other disease, since we are talking about the production of different antibodies.

Another vaccine

The Novosibirsk Scientific Center “Vector” announced the development of a combined influenza and COVID-19 vaccine back in October 2020. As Izvestia was told at the center, laboratory studies of the drug are still ongoing.

– From a platform perspective it will be a vector vaccine based on influenza A and B viruses. The key feature is that vaccination will provide protection against both seasonal flu and COVID-19. It is important to note that the live vector vaccine will induce local mucosal mucosal immunity, which is an important condition for protection against respiratory diseases, – specified in “Vector”. – The use of genetic engineering technologies and methods of reverse genetics makes it possible to update both the influenza component and COVID-19 for each new season.

Photo: TASS / Vladimir Gerdo

The center also explained that already existing technological sites can be used to develop vaccines, “including, if necessary, with the production of a vaccine in developing chicken embryos.”

It is premature to talk about the timing of the start of clinical trials with the participation of volunteers, Vektor noted and explained this by the fact that “The experimental vaccine under development still has many previous stages of study, including preclinical studies”.

Center-developed vaccination will not be based on the drug “EpiVacCorona”, which forms immunity through the use of artificially synthesized peptides. How the new flu and coronavirus vaccine works – vector.

Everything is one

In Russia a vaccine against influenza and COVID-19 is also being developed at the Center. N.F. Gamalei. As its director, Academician Alexander Gintsburg previously told Izvestia, clinical trials of the new drug are planned to begin at the end of 2022.… The platform for a unified vaccination, he said, has already been created. It is based on a hybrid rotavirus vaccine, in parallel with it, a drug is being developed against various variants of the coronavirus.

We should welcome the development of new combined vaccines and wish the Vector Center success, Alexei Agranovsky, Professor of the Department of Virology, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, told Izvestia. However, he noted that the main problem of immunization remains inadequate coverage of the population and the impact of anti-vaccination sentiments.

Woman vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: Moscow City News Agency / Kirill Zykov

– It is necessary to inoculate a significant part of the population with the most effective vaccines, but so far I do not see bright prospects. This is now the number one task, if you do not cope with it, then the combined vaccines will no longer be so important, the expert concluded.

Earlier, the CEO of “Vector” Rinat Maksyutov said that the need to create a single vaccine against coronavirus and influenza is due to the fact that simultaneous infection significantly increases the severity of the course of seasonal influenza and mortality from it.

As the head of the department of microbiology of latent infections, virologist of the Gamaleya Center Viktor Zuev told Izvestia, influenza vaccination does not reduce the severity of COVID-19, since these are two different viruses and, accordingly, two different drugs are required.

During vaccination, antibodies are injected into the human body, and the immune response is formed to the antigen that was injected, – the expert emphasized. – If a person has been vaccinated against influenza, the coronavirus infection is unlikely to proceed more easily, these are different antigens. I do not think that adding antibodies against influenza to the body will ease the course of the disease from the coronavirus.

Production of a vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus infection

Photo: TASS

Viktor Zuev noted that, among other things, for this reason, the whole world is watching with such attention what new strains of coronavirus appear. You need to make sure that existing vaccines created for certain variants of viruses work against them.

– Each new strain has something stronger. The Delta strain, for example, is more pathogenic than the Alpha strain that emerged at the end of 2019. Therefore, we all breathed a sigh of relief when our director (head of the Gamaleya Center Alexander Gintsburg. – Izvestia) announced that Sputnik V was effective against the Delta strain, ”the expert said.

Inject yourself with two

The virologist also noted that after a flu shot, recommends waiting at least two to three weeks before getting vaccinated against coronavirus… The consequences of giving both vaccines at the same time are still being studied.

In early September, the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Sergei Murashko said that preclinical studies of the simultaneous administration of vaccines against influenza and coronavirus have begun in Russia… On October 4, the minister described the preliminary results as encouraging.

The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation did not provide a prompt response to Izvestia’s inquiry about when the research would be completed.

Graffiti depicting a doctor in a protective suit

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

WHO also recommends that vaccine developers evaluate the effectiveness of the simultaneous use of drugs against COVID-19 and against influenza, the press service of the world organization told Izvestia.

The WHO Expert Working Group on Influenza was asked to review the available evidence on co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines to develop future policy on this issue, – specified in the organization.

On September 30, the University of Bristol in the UK published a study that showed that it is safe to be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time, 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.

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