Rational development of a combined mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 and influenza

NPJ Vaccines. 2022 Jul 26;7(1):84. doi: 10.1038/s41541-022-00478-w.


As the world continues to experience the COVID-19 pandemic, seasonal influenza remain a cause of severe morbidity and mortality globally. Worse yet, coinfection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus (IAV) leads to more severe clinical outcomes. The development of a combined vaccine against both COVID-19 and influenza is thus of high priority. Based on our established lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated mRNA vaccine platform, we developed and characterized a novel mRNA vaccine encoding the HA antigen of influenza A (H1N1) virus, termed ARIAV. Then, ARIAV was combined with our COVID-19 mRNA vaccine ARCoV, which encodes the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein, to formulate the final combined vaccine, AR-CoV/IAV. Further characterization demonstrated that immunization with two doses of AR-CoV/IAV elicited robust protective antibodies as well as antigen-specific cellular immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 and IAV. More importantly, AR-CoV/IAV immunization protected mice from coinfection with IAV and the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha and Delta variants. Our results highlight the potential of the LNP-mRNA vaccine platform in preventing COVID-19 and influenza, as well as other respiratory diseases.