Curevac has dosed the first subject in a Phase I trial of its seasonal influenza second-generation messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine candidate, CVSQIV.

The open-label, dose-escalation trial will analyse the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the vaccine in doses ranging from 3µg to 28µg.

Set to be carried out in Panama, it is anticipated to enrol up to 240 healthy subjects of the age groups of 18-55 years and 65 years and older.

The differentiated multivalent vaccine candidate was developed by CureVac in collaboration GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

It merges several separate nonchemically modified constructs of mRNA encoding for antigens that address four varying influenza strains.

CureVac noted that the seasonal influenza vaccine candidate is the first in the clinical stage based on an advanced mRNA backbone of CureVac.

Furthermore, it is one among the second-generation mRNA vaccine candidates from the infectious disease programme developed through partnership between CureVac and GSK.

CureVac chief development officer Dr Klaus Edvardsen said: “The successful implementation of mRNA technology to address the global Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated a tremendous opportunity for this platform.

“Leveraging the inherent flexibility of our mRNA platform together with our fast manufacturing, we have successfully combined multiple different mRNAs in a single candidate with the goal to develop a potentially improved vaccine for seasonal influenza.”

Apart from this vaccine, the companies are working on chemically modified mRNA technologies with clinical programmes for Covid-19 and influenza slated to commence this year.

In addition, a clinical trial to analyse usage of chemically modified mRNA is anticipated to start later this year.

In August last year, GSK and CureVac reported that their second-generation vaccine candidate, CV2CoV, offered strong immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in non-human primates in a preclinical study.