Until recently, no one had heard of mRNA vaccines. But now scientists believe it can solve many human health problems.
Thanks to the corona epidemic around the world, most people now know about these vaccines and some have even received two doses. But since 2016, when the mRNA vaccine was recently introduced in the scientific community, many have questioned its effectiveness and were unsure if it really works. But now this whole part of medicine is exploding and it can transform medicine.
These vaccines are so crucial that they raise interesting questions: Can mRNA vaccines be a cure for cancer, HIV and tropical diseases, or even give us the safety of a superhuman?
Ribonucleic acid is a messenger, or mRNA, single-stranded molecule that carries genetic code from DNA to a cell protein production machine. Without mRNA, your genetic code will be useless, no protein will be made, and your body will fail. If DNA is a bank card, mRNA acts as a card reader.
When a virus enters our body, it releases its RNA and hacks into our cells so that it can make more copies of itself, endangering our immune system. Traditional vaccines work by injecting an inactivated or attenuated virus protein called an antigen, which helps the immune system recognize the virus when it appears in the body.
But mRNA vaccines work very smartly and do not require self-injection of antigen. Instead, these vaccines convert the genetic code of the antigen into mRNA, that is, they produce a false antigen and trick the body into making a real antibody. It stays.
Therefore, the production of these vaccines is safer and faster and cheaper than traditional vaccines. With mRNA vaccines, large laboratories no longer need to produce millions of dead virus eggs. Instead, only one laboratory can obtain the genetic code for the antigen protein and send it by e-mail worldwide. With such information, any laboratory can produce about one million doses of mRNA in a 100 ml test tube.
Now we see this process in real life. On January 10, 2020, a Chinese researcher obtained the genome code Quaid-19 and published it the next day. The World Health Organization announced the worldwide epidemic on March 11, and five days later, the preclinical phase of the first mRNA vaccine was underway. On December 11, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-Bionotech vaccine, becoming not only the world’s first approved mRNA vaccine, but also the first vaccine to have a 95% impact in clinical trials, marking a historic moment. .
On December 18, Modrena’s mRNA vaccine was approved. Prior to that, the fastest vaccine ever made was the mumps vaccine, which took four years. But the Moderna and Pfizer-Bionetek vaccines were produced in just 11 months.
Even in 2019, researchers thought it would be five years before mRNA vaccines were developed. But the epidemic accelerated progress by half a decade. Before the development of the Corona mRNA vaccine, almost no one thought that in such a situation the mRNA vaccine could have an initial 95% effect.
But now the possibilities seem endless. Now that we know that this method worked on viral glycoproteins, what vaccines can we produce with this method from now on and what can we do beyond that?
Researchers in the field say that if we now see the first version of the Qovid-19 mRNA vaccine, the second version could cure two types of diseases. The first category is pathogens or pathogens such as SARS. But the technology can be applied to other foreign attackers, such as HIV. Companies were developing mRNA vaccines for HIV even before the corona epidemic.
The second category is autoimmune diseases. This is interesting in that the production of vaccines for these diseases goes beyond the meaning of the vaccine itself. Researchers say that mRNA “treatments” could reduce inflammation in the future. Doing so can open up many possibilities for humanity.
To prevent mRNA from being destroyed as soon as it enters the body, researchers inject it into the body into lipids. Lipids are known as “anonymous heroes” in the mRNA vaccine story. In fact, the technology used in lipid-free mRNA vaccines is meaningless. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, numerous studies had been performed on the applications of the lipid delivery method with mRNA, including genetic disorders, cancer immunotherapy, infectious diseases, and bacterial infections.
Thanks to lipid delivery techniques and mRNA technology, vaccines and treatments under development in developed countries for cystic fibrosis, HIV, heart disease, lung disease and asthma will work.
Solutions to tropical diseases are currently being explored. Moderna will soon launch the second clinical phase of Zika and Chikungunya fever vaccines. However, the two have become known as vaccines that have been “neglected”. One of the reasons for this is that these vaccines are injected into the poor communities of the world and they can not get enough of the cost of producing these vaccines. The speed and cost of mRNA vaccines can change this paradigm and lead to the end of tropical diseases.
But probably the first mRNA vaccine to reach the world is for our familiar enemy, the flu. Influenza viruses kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people worldwide each year. The mRNA vaccine for these diseases has been in clinical trials for years, and researchers have achieved good results. There are currently five clinical trials for influenza A, one of which is in the second phase. At the same time, a World Health Organization adviser warned that some countries were at risk of a flu pandemic that could lead to more deaths than Covid-19.
Now that all of this is happening, some pharmaceutical companies are also developing vaccines and mRNA treatments for cancer. Cancer cells usually have certain biomarkers that other cells in the body do not have. Therefore, the immune system can be trained to recognize and destroy these cells. Just like when we teach the immune system to kill viruses.
In addition, the idea of personalizing some treatments for each patient has been around for years and has been a tempting prospect for all researchers and physicians. Now mRNA can open other windows in this field for health professionals. They can remove a person with cancer, check the genetic code on the surface, and produce a vaccine for the patient.
If the cure for cancer, HIV and tropical diseases is found with the second version of mRNA, what can the third version of these vaccines do for us? One of the biggest concerns in health and medicine is the body’s resistance to antibiotics. Despite all the information we have now, it is conceivable that it is indeed a vaccine for bacterial antigens such as C. Build a differential or any weird bacteria you can think of. Although no studies have been conducted in this field, some scientific journals have addressed this issue.
In addition, more general applications related to commercial health have been explored. For example, lactose intolerance, which now affects hundreds of millions of people around the world, especially Asians, can one day be cured. Such a disorder is not fatal in the body, but researchers say that producing a cure for such diseases could turn into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Some researchers have even conducted clinical trials to target cholesterol in mice. People who have a lot of PCSK9 protein in their body have high cholesterol and get heart disease earlier than average people. The researchers found in the study that they could reduce up to 95% of PCSK9 protein in mice, and now a biotechnology company is planning to conduct clinical trials to reduce PCSK9 with mRNA.
All of this information raises the question of whether mRNA therapy could one day give us a superhuman immune system. Currently, people who have received the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine have been able to become immune to a wide range of variants of the virus in one step.
In addition, it is possible to combine different mRNA vaccines to get a health booster and become immune to many cancers and viruses at one point. Although the idea is currently speculated, researchers say it is possible to get a vaccine against a variety of diseases that include proteins of your choice. Moderna and Novavax are currently developing the flu vaccine and Covid-19.
However, before we get emotional, we need to know that there are still questions about mRNA vaccines. We now need regular doses that cause pain in the arm and sometimes have severe side effects such as fatigue and severe body aches. We have been using vaccines in the real world for less than a year now. So far, anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions have been reported in 2 to 5 people per million injections in the United States, none of which have resulted in death. These results have been seen with the Pfizer-Bionotech vaccine at about 4.7 per million and with the modern vaccine at 2.5 per million. Studies show that these numbers, although very small, are about 11 times higher than allergies caused by the flu vaccine.
Researchers are still studying how long the antibody and cellular response in the body lasts. They may have been able to train the immune system to fight the coronavirus, but now, a year and a half after clinical trials began, they are still doing more research on how well it works. In addition, most people do not want to get the vaccine regularly, which kills them for three days.
Researchers are now studying saRNA, or self-amplifying mRNA, which, once injected into the body, can make more copies of itself. With saRNAs, a much lower dose, about 100 times less than mRNA, can be injected into the body to provide the same immunity without the need for additional doses.
MRNA may be at the forefront of the Covid-19 war, but saRNA will probably win in the end. Astrazenka currently receives $ 195 million for saRNA development, which is a significant amount compared to Ethris’s $ 29.5 million budget for the lung disease vaccine.