US Government pays Moderna for rapid bird flu vaccine development

The U.S. government will pay Moderna $176 million to expedite the development of a pandemic influenza vaccine that can be used to combat the bird flu in humans. 

US Government pays Moderna for rapid bird flu vaccine development

Federal officials said on Tuesday that there is growing worry over cases found in dairy cows across the United States. Since it was discovered in dairy cows earlier this year, the H5N1 virus has infected three people, all of whom had moderate symptoms, and spread to over 135 herds across 12 states. 

A press release from Moderna on Tuesday stated “The project award will support late-stage development for an mRNA-based vaccine to enable the licensure of a pre-pandemic vaccine against the H5 influenza virus.” 

Moderna added, “This subtype of influenza virus causes a highly infectious, severe disease in birds called avian influenza and poses a risk for spillover into the human population.”

Penn Medicine researchers announced in May that they developed an experimental Avian Flu mRNA vaccine that they said “could prevent human infections.” 

Though the Avian Flu’s current H5N1 strain is not a risk to humans, researchers expressed concern that it “may evolve and cause a human pandemic.”  

PHAC plans to stockpile bird flu vaccines

Similarly, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on June 10 that it it’s “proactively” speaking with vaccine manufacturers to get a hold of bird flu vaccines.

According to Health Canada’s website, Canada currently has no avian influenza vaccines, but this will likely change shortly.

Health Canada has also already begun establishing measures and recommendations for possible outbreaks, mirroring many of the protocols seen during the COVID lockdowns.

First-ever ‘bird flu death’ deemed a hoax

This news comes just after the death of a Mexican man gained international attention following the WHO’s proclamation that it constitutes a ‘bird flu death’. 

However, Mexican health officials denied the claim, stating that the WHO’s report was “not accurate.”

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