FRANKFURT, Nov 4 (AFP) - Pfizer-BioNTech said Thursday (Nov 3) they will test a combined coronavirus and influenza vaccine, which could potentially pave the way for better inoculation uptake for both illnesses.

The companies said in a statement the mRNA-based combination vaccine candidate was set to progress to a phase one trial in the United States with 180 volunteers.

The inoculation "could simplify immunisation practices against these two respiratory pathogens, potentially leading to better vaccine uptake for both diseases," said Annaliesa Anderson, head of vaccine research and development at US drugmaker Pfizer.

"Even with existing seasonal influenza vaccines, the burden of this virus is severe across the world, causing thousands of deaths and hospitalisations every year."

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech developed one of the most widely used vaccines to combat COVID-19.

Rival vaccine makers Moderna and Novavax have also been testing combined inoculations against COVID-19 and flu.