Traditionally, vaccines consist of an inactivated form of a virus or other type of pathogen. These vaccines need a long time to manufacture, while for some diseases, they are considered to be too risky. Except this, other vaccines comprise proteins typically produced through the microbe. However, these aren’t always capable of inducing a strong immune response. For this reason, researchers have been trying to develop an adjuvant (a chemical that enhances the response).
Now, a research team has successfully developed a new type of vaccine that is easily customizable and can be manufactured within one week. This is a great achievement for the mRNA Vaccine and Therapeutics Market as it would enable researchers to quickly deploy the vaccine in response to disease outbreaks. Till now, the vaccine has been designed against H1N1 influenza, Ebola, and toxoplasma gondii (a member of the parasite family that is responsible for causing malaria).
The vaccine is made up of strands of genetic material referred to as messenger RNA. It can be designed to code for any parasitic protein, bacterial, or viral. These molecules are then packaged into another molecule that is responsible for delivering the RNA into cells. Thereafter, RNA is translated into proteins that incite an immune response from the host. Thus, allowing the world to deal with sudden outbreaks or quickly make adjustments and improvements.
RNA vaccines are highly advantageous as they are capable of inducing the host cells to produce many copies of the proteins they encode. It results in building up a stronger immune reaction than if the proteins were given on their own. The idea of making use of messenger RNA molecules as vaccines has circulated for about 30 years, but researchers till now could not find a safe and effective way to deliver them. However, the hurdle is set to be overcome now with the new research.
The team is optimistic that their newly developed vaccines would be much safer than DNA vaccines, which are another alternative with the scientists that are currently being pursued. This is because, unlike DNA, RNA cannot be merged into the host genome, thus causing mutations. The ability to rapidly creating a wholly synthetic formulation that can be used as a vaccine is not only an important but also crucial addition to currently available vaccine strategies.
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