mRNA COVID vaccines made history when they clinched a Nobel Prize for their contribution to the medical field. Dr. Katalin Kariko, a biochemist at the Szeged University in Hungary and immunologist at The University of Pennsylvania Drew Weissman saved over 13 Billion lives when they discovered the vaccine for a pandemic that seemed to have grappled the whole world under its claws.
The vaccine applies to the Omicron variant of the disease which is highly contagious and fatal in many cases, especially in the elderly. The duo was able to come up with a miracle cure in less than a year for a disease that was previously unknown to humans.
What’s The Next Evolution Of The Technology?
mRNA could simply mean the guidelines needed for our DNA to make proteins. DNA or Deoxyribose Nucleic acid carries and determines everything pertaining to a particular organism. This could range from their immune response to reproductive status as well. Messenger Riboxy Nucleic Acid is the single strand from the two strands that make the DNA what it is and help it embed the needed information. The genetic information of any organism could be determined with the combination of the two nucleic acids which were developed to make a unique vaccine for SARS-COV2.
Further commenting on the importance of mRNA, Dr. Shurjo Sen from the National Genome Research Institute said, “mRNA is actually the translated form of DNA that the machinery can recognize and use to assemble amino acids into proteins. So this is really a fundamental link between what we think of as being the code of life and the actual cell being able to construct a living organism. And in that sense, although DNA gets discussed a lot more than RNA, mRNA is a really crucial piece of the fundamental way in which the living organism is created.”
The technology was first discovered in the ’60s when two doctors discovered how they could feed information to the cells and trigger a specific immune response, not damaging other parts of the body. As the vaccine enters our body it aims to awaken our antibodies in case the virus attacks us. This way our body is prepared to ward off the damage COV2 virus could cause.
The technology was then adopted by several vaccine development companies to make vaccines. Currently, it is only used to prevent infection against COVID-19 but as the technology proves to be a success, its popularity could be much broader. In fact, this is why many big pharma are interested in spending big bucks on the technology.
An immunologist confirms the bright future of mRNA technology in the world of vaccine creation, “The sky’s the limit. For whatever you want to correct, or whatever you want to treat, there could be an mRNA medicine — that’s the excitement.”
The technology has already started to spread to other facets of the medicinal world. For instance, scientists are now finding ways to integrate it into fighting off viruses that were previously considered untouchable. One among those is CMV which poses a birth defect in children but with mRNA, scientists could simply add the missing information into the DNA and deal with it easily. Its potency is also being explored in the field of Cancer.
But for that, it should be able to adapt itself to something greater as there are several kinds of Cancers. Also, only a few of them actually affect the DNA so feeding information to RNA could be of little to no use. However, its speed of delivery and flexibility in making itself crucial does raise positive hopes in the medical community. Scientists believe that the bright future could not be as far as they had imagined it to be.
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