The vaccine will proceed into clinical studies by the end of the year.
"Despite low rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza remains a significant risk to global public health and the need for versatile, more effective vaccines is as important as ever, including against the flu,” said Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development, Novavax.
Separately, both Novavax’s COVID-19 candidate and NanoFlu candidate have been through Phase 3 trials and are being advanced for regulatory submission.
The pre-print study found that the combination NanoFlu/NVX-CoV2373 (qNIV/CoV2373) vaccine induced functional influenza and COVID antibodies in ferrets.
Hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and ACE2 receptor-inhibiting titers were comparable between immunization with the combination vaccine and with its respective component vaccines. Antibody titers were elevated two weeks after a single dose and increased even further two weeks following a second immunization.
Hamsters that received the combination NanoFlu/NVX-CoV2373 vaccine had elevated levels of SARS-CoV-2 anti-S IgG two weeks after the first immunization, which increased significantly after a second dose, with levels comparable to animals that received the NVX-CoV2373 vaccine alone.
Human ACE2 receptor inhibiting antibody levels responded similarly. The immune responses to influenza A and B strains elicited by NanoFlu/NVX-CoV2373 were comparable to immunization with NanoFlu alone. Further, the combination vaccine induced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing epitopes, including at hidden or cryptic sites, that are common between USA-WA1 and the B.1.351 variant.