Moderna Gets Funding From The Government For Bird-Flu Vaccine


The United States government is taking proactive steps to combat a potential avian influenza outbreak by awarding a $176 million contract to Moderna. This funding will accelerate the development of a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine specifically designed to protect against the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has been detected in recent outbreaks among dairy cattle across the country.

Combating a Potential Pandemic

While the current risk to the general public remains low, health officials are taking the spread of bird flu seriously. The H5N1 strain is highly contagious among birds and can sometimes jump to humans. While human cases so far have been mild, a mutated strain with increased transmissibility among humans is a cause for concern.

Moderna’s mRNA Technology

Moderna, known for its COVID-19 vaccine, will leverage its expertise in mRNA technology to develop the bird flu vaccine. mRNA vaccines work by delivering genetic instructions to the body’s cells, prompting them to produce proteins that mimic the virus. This triggers the immune system to develop defenses against the actual virus if encountered.

Funding and Development Stages

The $176 million funding comes from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This award will support Phase 3 clinical trials, a crucial stage in vaccine development that involves testing the vaccine’s safety and efficacy in a large group of people.

Beyond the Initial Funding

The agreement between Moderna and BARDA includes additional options. If the Phase 3 trials are successful, the government may choose to expand its partnership with Moderna for large-scale production and distribution of the vaccine, ensuring a rapid response if a wider outbreak occurs.

Looking Ahead

This project signifies the government’s commitment to preparedness in the face of potential pandemics. By investing in the development of a bird flu vaccine, the U.S. aims to be better equipped to protect its citizens from a potential public health threat. The success of Moderna’s efforts will be closely monitored in the coming months, with the hope that this proactive measure can help prevent a wider bird flu outbreak.

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