(ORDO NEWS) — The messenger RNA technology that forms the basis of some COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent other complex diseases like cancer or HIV. If mRNA passes the pandemic test, it will open up a whole new field in medicine, Bloomberg predicts.
Coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer with BioNTech could open up a new field in medicine that could one day defeat complex diseases like cancer, AIDS or heart disease, Bloomberg writes.
The agency has assessed the prospects of a new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which has formed the basis of some vaccines against coronavirus. During immunization, artificial genetic material is introduced into human cells, which provokes cells to reproduce the coronavirus protein, with which it enters cells. This RNA does not cause real infection, but teaches the immune system to fight infection. The cells themselves become “a vaccine factory,” Bloomberg explained.
Several companies are working to adapt mRNA for vaccines against influenza, heart failure, cystic fibrosis (an inherited disease), cytomegalovirus (a viral disease) and even HIV, Bloomberg said. The influenza vaccine can be combined with the influenza vaccine and, literally, with one shot, to cope with all the seasonal winter illnesses, Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel told Bloomberg.
MRNA is a new approach that has never been used outside of clinical trials before, Bloomberg noted. The pandemic has become a testing ground, because, on the one hand, wealthy companies (like Pfizer) began to sponsor the development, and on the other hand, mRNA-based vaccines will be massively used, the agency said. The vaccine from Pfizer was urgently approved by US and Mexican regulators the day before , and the UK approved it in early December.
“We are entering the era of mRNA therapy. There will be more investments and more resources in this direction, ”predicts former Harvard biologist and Moderna shareholder Derrick Rossi. He believes that in 10-20 years all vaccines against infectious diseases will be based on mRNA. According to the forecast of the co-founder of BioNTech Ugur Sakhin, in two or three years, the first cancer drugs using the technology may receive approval.
Among others, Moderna, AstraZeneca and the world’s largest cancer drug manufacturer Roche are working on an mRNA-based cancer vaccine with BioNTech. The German startup is working with Bill Gates’ charity F and his wife Melinda to develop an HIV vaccine.
But there are no guarantees that the forecasts of specialists and company executives about mRNA vaccines will be right, Bloomberg emphasized. He explained that all vaccines, except for the substance for coronavirus, are still in the early stages of testing. And if substances can work with infectious diseases, like coronavirus, then it will be more difficult with cancer, since it has learned to bypass the protection of immunity.
Other coronavirus vaccines use a human or monkey adenovirus vector that delivers the coronavirus protein to the body and triggers an immune response. This is how, for example, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and the development of Oxford and AstraZeneca work.
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