Vaccines For Lyme Disease And Norovirus? Moderna Working On Shots Targeting Tick-Borne Infection And Vomiting Bug

Published 1 year ago
COVID-19 Vaccination in Colombia
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Moderna on Tuesday unveiled plans to develop vaccines against tick-borne Lyme disease and norovirus, a notorious stomach bug, the Massachusetts-based biotech’s latest efforts to bolster its pipeline and expand its offerings ahead of a steep drop in demand for its Covid-19 vaccines.

Moderna announced plans to develop a Lyme vaccine. GETTY IMAGES


Moderna said it is developing multiple vaccines targeting Lyme disease, a serious infection spread by tick bites that can cause a range of symptoms including fever, facial paralysis, arthritis and rash.


There is no vaccine for Lyme disease on the market in the U.S.—the only approved shot was pulled in 2002—and infections are rising, largely spurred on by climate change expanding the range of the ticks that carry it.

There are around 120,000 Lyme disease cases reported in the U.S. and Europe each year and Moderna said the proposed vaccines target key species of the tick-borne bacteria responsible for most infections in the regions.

Vaccinating against bacterial infections like Lyme is generally more complicated than protecting against viral infections like Covid, and the effort marks the first time Moderna has applied its mRNA technology to bacterial threats.

Moderna also announced plans to develop mRNA vaccines targeting norovirus, which is highly contagious and the leading cause of diarrheal disease globally.



Moderna struggled for years to commercialize its mRNA technology before achieving stellar success with its Covid-19 vaccine during the pandemic. With demand for those shots waning, it is under intense pressure to diversify its offerings. In addition to respiratory diseases like Covid, flu and RSV, Moderna has shots targeting various cancers, genetic conditions and infectious diseases like HIV, herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus in the pipeline.


Moderna said it expects six “major vaccine” launches in the “next few years.” On Tuesday, Moderna said it plans to seek regulatory approval for its latest RSV vaccine this quarter. The company pushed back its timeline for its flu shot, however, citing the need to gather more data.


$15 billion. That’s how much Moderna estimates the annual global market for Covid booster shots is worth. The company said it expects to make up to $9 billion in profit from sales of respiratory products, which include its Covid booster shots and possible upcoming shots for illnesses like RSV.


Moderna Hopes To Build On mRNA Tech Used In Its Covid Shots—By Targeting Genetic Diseases (Forbes)