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Despite what can only be described as a host of looming unanswered questions about its mRNA technology and its Covid vaccines, the U.S has awarded Moderna a new $176 million contract to advance development of its bird flu vaccine.

Stop us if you feel like you’ve seen this movie before…

The U.S. government has granted Moderna $176 million to develop its bird flu vaccine amid rising concerns over the H5N1 virus outbreak in dairy cows and infections among dairy workers.

The funds, provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, will support the late-stage development and testing of an mRNA-based vaccine for H5N1 avian influenza, according to The Globe and Mail/Reuters

Moderna’s agreement with the government also includes options to prepare for future public health threats. The first outbreak in dairy cattle was reported in March, and the virus has since spread to over 130 herds in 12 states.

The report says that scientists worry that the virus could mutate and spread among humans, though the current risk remains low. (We’re guessing this risk could grow in size as we move closer to Election Day…but what do we know?)

Moderna began a study of its bird flu vaccine, mRNA-1018, in healthy adults last year, with results expected this year. Late-stage trials are planned for 2025. Moderna’s mRNA technology, also used in its COVID-19 vaccine, offers rapid development and scalability advantages.

U.S. officials are preparing 4.8 million doses of a similar vaccine for at-risk workers, and the FDA confirms pasteurization inactivates the virus in dairy products.

The best part is they don’t even need to compete with ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine this time. 

Now, what’s next on the public health agenda, awarding the EcoHealth Alliance another contract?


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