Breakthrough Covid Vaccine Tech Could Help Defeat Other Diseases

from Reuters

Breakthrough technology that transforms the body into a virus-zapping vaccine factory is poised to revolutionise the fight against COVID-19 but future pandemics and even cancer could be next, scientists say. The initial success of so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines in late-stage trials by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is the first proof the concept works.

Both experimental vaccines had efficacy rates above 90% based on interim findings, which was far higher than expected and well above the 50% threshold U.S. regulators insist upon for vaccines.

Now scientists say the technology, a slow-motion revolution in the making since the discovery of mRNA nearly 60 years ago, could speed up the development of new vaccines.

The traditional method of creating vaccines – introducing a weakened or dead virus, or a piece of one, to stimulate the body’s immune system – takes over a decade on average, according to a 2013 study. One pandemic flu vaccine took over eight years while a hepatitis B vaccine was nearly 18 years in the making.

Moderna’s vaccine went from gene sequencing to the first human injection in 63 days.

More here.

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8 Comments

  1. COVID-19 has been plaguing the globe for months with no end in sight. Social distancing and wearing masks limit the spread of the virus. However, people are growing restless and participating in large gatherings without a mask. Many people wear their masks under their nose, which does not stop the spread of germs, or wear masks that have been proven to be ineffective, like neck gaiters. A solution to permanently eliminate the virus is a vaccine. History has shown that vaccine testing takes years, and COVID-19 has been a threat for less than a year. However, scientists have reached a breakthrough to create an effective COVID vaccine that can potentially help to fight other diseases.

    The traditional method for creating vaccines can take over a decade to create. The mRNA vaccine can gain regulatory approval within the year. This substantially decreases the turnover rate a vaccine is created. Rather than introducing a body to a piece of a dead virus to build immunity, mRNA sends messages to the body’s cell to make the proteins needed to fight against the virus. Scientists have been experimenting with mRNA since 1961 but have not reached success until this year. COVID-19 catapulted the mRNA, as it is more effective and less time consuming than the traditional method.

    The necessity to find a COVID-19 vaccine may help the fight over other deadly diseases. Companies like Moderna and BioNTech ate currently using mRNA technology to experimental cancer medicines. The advancement of this technology was out of necessity, but can potentially cure many other diseases. There are challenges the mRNA face, like the degrees it must withhold during transportation. The vaccine must travel at minus 70 degrees Celcius. This can raise a challenge in tropical countries who may not have the resources for this kind of transportation. Those logistics must be solved before the vaccine is released to the public. Although the release of a vaccine so early is challenging, it can be the answer to ending the deadly virus.

  2. This article has some great news in it, something I am not used to anymore because of this treacherous 2020. This vaccine brings us one step closer to normality, and the fact that it may help with other diseases is just the icing on the cake. I wonder how long it will take for this vaccine to go global and have COVID become a thing of the past. To be honest, I do not think the vaccine will stop the virus. By that I mean it will still be around, lust like how the flu is still around. It will stop the spread because people will be “immune” to it until they need to get another shot. I also think that this leading to a cure for cancer is a stretch sadly. It almost sounds too good to be true. I think maybe it will lead to better research tactics and better vaccines, but the fact that cancer is so complicated leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  3. The COVID-19 virus is the single biggest influencer of my life besides when I signed up to be a Boy Scout, going to college or graduating high school. The virus has effectively closed off the many paths that I was going to go down in a normal year, with the worst part being how it may not even be over by the end of this one. So far, we as a human society has had to deal with 8-9 months of terror, shutdowns and masks. I still remember a conversation I had regarding mask use in February versus now, and how we used to associate mask wearing with tourists from populations with high pollution, such as China and Japan. Now, not wearing the mask is the abnormality, with many “anti-maskers” having formed groups based on ideas that would sound insane about a year ago. But most egregiously, the amount of death that occurs and gets ignored on a daily business is horrifying. So when I read the above article, I feel almost a sense of relief, as any end to the terror that the world has had to have experience has been nothing short of one of the worst times in human history. It genuinely felt we were in a prequel movie to a series about the fall of man, it was so surreal. What I also liked was the detail given in showing how far we have come in science development of the various types of vaccines over the years. Just a comparison in the length of time it took to develop something like the hepatitis B vaccine took 18 years, while this new potential vaccine took around 63 days according to the article. Though this may be a silly fear, as I am used to tried and true vaccines that have been proven to work time and time again, anything dealing with COVID-19 scares the devil out of me. Hopefully in the time before it ends up in the hands of the general population there will be more testing done, though I think it will be a non issue before long. Regardless, I am DONE with the COVID-19 virus, and want the whole thing to go away no matter what. But my desire for the thing to magically disappear does not go against my desire for safe procedures to be developed for the eventual vaccine. So on that, I must urge any and all health professionals in charge of either distribution or creation of the vaccine to take no chances, and help the world recover from on of the lowest points in recent history.

  4. Creating a vaccine traditionally can take years to create, but with new developments in mRNA vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine could soon be on its way. With companies like Phizer and Moderna’s vaccines being more than 90% effective, we should be seeing a vaccine very soon. It is more than necessary to find a vaccine for coronavirus, that way businesses can resume normal operation and life can go back to the way that we all know it used to be. However, mRNA vaccines may not be used to cure only COVID, but other diseases as well. The article describes this vaccine tech as a breakthrough, giving an example with Moderna’s vaccine going from gene-sequencing to human trials within 63 days. This is outstanding because it usually takes about a decade to develop vaccines using the traditional method of introducing a weaker version of a virus to the body. This vaccine tech can help and most likely will help with developments on other vaccines and help speed up the process in case another worldwide pandemic ensures.

  5. With the insanity that the beginning of this decade has brought, I’m glad there is a potential silver lining. The spread of Covid-19 has disabled the entire world. Not only have peoples entire lives changed, but many many lives have been lost. With the end nearing its completion, many people had hope that there would be a cure or a vaccine as life as well as the economy are at a breaking point. People are afraid to leave their homes, businesses are failing and are forced to shut down. Roughly 300000 Americans alone have died from the virus. Fortunately, there seems to be a light at the end of this very dark long tunnel. Luckily the article mentions that this vaccine can also help in aiding other viruses. I am a heavy believer in mandatory vaccinations as the side effects that even the most basic vaccines may bring are so minute to the end goal. A safe and healthy public is more important than the irrational fear of autism being formed in small children as a result of vaccines. Personally, I am so over Covid-19 and I would be willing to do nearly anything for life to return to normalcy.

  6. Covid 19 has put a stop to all the hanging out and all the going out and being all together in groups and making sure we do the complete opposite. we have lost so many lives due to covid, it is insane and how we will do to keep up and see what will happen and if there will ever be a vaccine made and see if it actually works, will be a test that will forever give history its story. At the moment I don’t believe in any of these vaccines and what they have in them and how quick they can just make a vaccine, I don’t think its the right thing to even give people. We have taken years and years to make other vaccines and stuff but this one we barley didn’t even need a year and it has been one for the ages. This pandemic really put a stop to all the fun things we had planned, and it came out of nowhere, we had to adjust to wearing masks on the daily and making sure all of us are socially distanced and how much we have to care because every time we left the house, we could be bringing to our loved one at home. I don’t believe in these vaccines to get the job done and automatically put and end to Covid and make sure nobody is dying. What we do need to do is prevent another pandemic from happening, make sure we got enough masks, make sure we got enough hospital beds, and make sure we have enough ventilators, for the peoples symptoms who are bad and can get worse. We have lost enough and a lot this year, and how miserable this year has been, lets make it the last one and continue to be together and make sure we prevent the spread and are following all CDC guidelines, as we want to put an end to this terrible virus.

  7. I found this article to be very interesting and informative. Prior to reading the article I wasn’t aware of the fact that vaccines typically have such a long turnover time which averages at least a decade and some taking as long as 18 years. Considering this and the fact that covid19 is ravaging the world, claiming so many lives and compromising the global economy in such a short amount of time, it is no wonder that all the major pharmaceutical companies from all over the world are scrambling to find a working vaccine quickly because I cant imagine what the world would look like if a covid19 vaccine had to wait for the normal turnover time.
    I was also very impressed and inspired by the scientist Kariko and her relentless efforts to figure out how to deliver mRNA without kicking the immune system into overdrive which was a key obstacle in the way of reaching success with the mRNA method, even though she was being made fun of by her colleagues. If it were not for her relentless efforts, this new technology that has the potential to rid the world of COVID-19 sooner and even cancer would not have been successfully completed, at least not now. I also noticed that the set approval rate for vaccines in the United Sates is only 50% efficiency, which I believe is way too low and should be at least 90%. this technology is a game changer and its potential to effectively help with cancer therapies in the future is a worthy cause that should be promoted and invested in regardless of the expensive price tag attached to it.

  8. This article contains a lot of hopeful avenues for our future. The fact that overcoming this pandemic may lead to resolving future issues quicker leads to better avenues. The vaccine going global will take time, and also will be hard to produce and send out at an effective rate. However, this does lead room for hopeful projections in the future and will allow for more effective responses as well. We are going through one of the worst pandemics ever experienced, and small ideas of hope help exponentially with our projections.

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