Covid-19 has been a disaster of almost unfathomable scope, but even the darkest clouds have silver linings. In this case, the technology that was able to bring a viable & safe vaccine to the public in under a year is now being applied to other viral pathogens that threaten society, including the flu and HIV.
From ABC 7 Chicago.
The messenger RNA, or mRNA, platform may be new to the global public, but it’s a technology that researchers had been betting on for decades. Now those bets are paying off, and not just by turning back a pandemic that killed millions in just a year.
This approach that led to remarkably safe and effective vaccines against a new virus is also showing promise against old enemies such as HIV, and infections that threaten babies and young children, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and metapneumovirus. It’s being tested as a treatment for cancers, including melanoma and brain tumors. It might offer a new way to treat autoimmune diseases. And it’s also being checked out as a possible alternative to gene therapy for intractable conditions such as sickle cell disease.
Researchers have been working on mRNA vaccines for decades, but research had been slow. The Covid outbreak meant they were able to accelerate greatly, and the results have been amazing. Other diseases for which researchers are currently developing mRNA vaccines include Zika, hepatitis C, and malaria.
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