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U.S. Allocates $176 Million to Moderna for Development of Bird Flu Vaccine Amid Dairy Cow Epidemic

World 03.07.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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The U.S. government has committed $176 million to vaccine manufacturer Moderna to expedite the development of a bird flu vaccine, targeting a recent outbreak affecting dairy cows and raising concerns for human health.
U.S. Allocates $176 Million to Moderna for Development of Bird Flu Vaccine Amid Dairy Cow Epidemic
Announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday, the funding aims to advance Moderna's ongoing efforts using mRNA technology, similar to that used in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna's bird flu vaccine is currently in early-stage testing, with plans for a late-stage trial next year, pending positive initial results. The HHS funding, facilitated through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), will support these developmental stages.

Although the vaccine is specifically geared towards the H5N1 strain of bird flu, HHS officials have noted that the project could pivot to address other influenza threats if necessary. This flexibility is critical as the H5N1 virus has already been identified in dairy cows across 12 states, leading to more than 135 herds being affected. Additionally, there have been three mild human cases linked to this outbreak.

While the risk to the general public is currently considered low, the spread of H5N1 among dairy herds poses significant concerns for both agricultural and public health sectors.
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