mRNA Vaccines

By pjain      Published July 4, 2021, 4:21 a.m. in blog Health   

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Covid mRNA

Pfizer

Moderna

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mRNA Vaccines Theory

Covid Vaccine Timeline

  • Jan. 11, 2020 Chinese scientists put the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus online. Within days the NIH and Moderna used it to plot out a vaccine.

Jan 21st "I got a call from Davos [during The World Economic Forum] from the CEO of Moderna (Bancel who) had been approached by a number of public health groups at the conference urging him to work on a vaccine. .. We literally decided overnight...to try and do this"- Afeyan, of Moderna

Feb. 24, 2020 Moderna delivered the first doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the NIH for testing

March 16, 2020 “The first Moderna shot went into a volunteer’s arm in Seattle

Testing of the Moderna vaccine on 30,000 volunteers continued in next 8+ months.

Dec. 18, 2020 FDA authorized it for emergency public use

Dec 21, 2020 first Moderna vaccines were administered to front-line health workers

Decades of Basic Research funded by NIH

Extensive research was being done on mRNA technology and other mRNA vaccines for years.

“Messenger RNA technologies have been in development from a basic science perspective for over 15 years,” - Kizzmekia Corbet, scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at NIH,

That decade plus of experience and the innovation of mRNA technology itself is what allowed todays vaccine development.

BioPlatforms built on NIH research

Traditionally, developing any vaccine essentially has been a bespoke effort. However this makes it a very long 5+ years to decades (as in HIV)

2010+ Moderna has been working with mRNA technology “since its inception for myriad therapeutic areas,” including cancer therapies - Afeyan

2015+ Clinical development of mRNA-based antiviral vaccines.

What Moderna did over many of those years was develop mRNA as what scientists call a bioplatform, which allows for speedier vaccine development. Bioplatforms are systems that can easily be scaled and tailored for many different diseases. All of this makes mRNA vaccines virtually programable. Moderna's Corbet and Bancel describe the process as “plug and play.” “The benefits of a bioplatform is the ability to quickly redeploy the platform once established and refined –in the case of Moderna’s mRNA platform, to create and test new vaccines based on new viral sequences,” - Moderna

Basically like software the only difference between different vaccines is the sequence of 4 amino acids in the mRNA code. By switching the template or target of the vaccine it can quickly generate mRNA sequences that the human cell can target, building antibodies.

The VC firm Andreessen Horowitz likens how bioplatforms could change the biotechnology industry to what the advent assembly lines did for the auto industry: It “went from single ‘job shops’ in the early days of automobiles — where raw materials like steel and rubber crafted from start to finish by hand into a trickle of early cars — to assembly line production, with standard components that could be iterated for new models,” - VC blog post.

“The only difference between” mRNA vaccines is “the order of the letter; the zeroes and ones of life,” Bancel said. “The manufacturing process is the same, the equipment is the same, with the same operators. It’s the same thing. And so this is why we could go so fast.”

This allowed Moderna to produce its Covid mRNA vaccine so quickly as the pandemic struck.

Value Added by Applied Research at BioNTech and Pfizer

The same BioPlatforms dynamic enabled Pfizer and BioNTech, who collaborated to create the other mRNA Covid vaccine currently in use in the U.S., “to rapidly redirect its mRNA technology platform from cancer to COVID in a matter of weeks; the company estimates it can manufacture updated versions against emerging mutant strains in as little as six weeks,” Savitskaya and Conde of Andressen Horowitz

Pfizer and BioNTech are also working on an mRNA vaccine to prevent the flu.

Applied Research at Moderna

Moderna has 24 mRNA vaccines and therapeutics under investigation, and 14 have begun clinical studies, according to the company’s quarterly investment documents published in May. Moderna’s pipeline of mRNA treatments include a zika vaccine, HIV vaccine and a cancer vaccine, to name a few.

CDC/FDA EULA may have led significant side-effects slide by

mRNA and the future of Vaccines after Covid

mRNA and the future of medicine

“The rise of productive platforms will impact much more than just vaccines. It will transform all areas of biotech, from small molecule discovery, protein engineering, genome editing, gene delivery, cell therapy, and more.” - Savitskaya and Conde

Distrust of Rapid Vaccine Development

“The vaccines came out in such a [short] timeframe that people assumed automatically, it can’t possibly be safe .. In fact, many, many people were on television espousing the view that — experts for that matter — that if it’s done in less than five years, it’s got to be unsafe, all of which is untrue.” - Moderna's Afeyan

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