COVID Research Brings New Hope of Better Vaccines and Treatments for Flu, Cancer, and Other Diseases

Up to now, the world remains chaotic and in grief due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After COVID claimed more than 6,000,000 lives and afflicted almost half a billion people, it is understandable that everyone feels scared and daunted by COVID 19.

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However, experts are now saying that the billion-dollar research that has been done on this deadly disease has yielded new scientific and medical knowledge that will enable the world to put up a better fight against other diseases like cancer, HIV, and influenza.

COVID Research Leads to the Discovery of the Enormous Benefits of mRNA Technology

Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) was first discovered in the 1960s. Several scientists experimented with it to make mRNA a research tool for discovering molecular processes and gene functions.

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Later, in the 1980s, it was found that synthetic mRNA could be used in activating and limiting protein production. Hence, it opened the possibility that specially coded mRNA could be used for the treatment of diseases.

In the 21st century, mRNA technology proved very useful in developing highly-effective vaccines against COVID 19, which has been wreaking havoc around the globe.

How mRNA Technology is Revolutionizing Vaccine Development

According to experts, despite COVID 19’s devastating impacts, the world is starting to reap dividends from the extensive scientific and medical research that the pandemic has spurred.

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Through new knowledge about protein structures and mRNA technology, structural biologist Jason McLellan and his team succeeded in developing a vaccine intended to fight against another deadly virus. Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, more than 64 million people, including very young children, got afflicted by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) every year.

After a long period of constant failure, a breakthrough happened when McLellan’s team finally identified RSV’s protein structure, which resulted in the creation of an RSV vaccine that is now undergoing clinical trials.

It was McLellan’s team who also discovered the structure of the spike protein that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses in invading human cells. Their study was the key to the development of COVID 19 vaccines using mRNA technology.

Photo: YouTube/Nucleus Medical Media

Since mRNA can be specially coded, experts are now testing the technology to develop more effective vaccines for influenza, Zika, rabies, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They are also looking forward to coming up with better treatments for cancer, hereditary metabolic disorders, and cystic fibrosis.

“This is just the start,” said Judith James, MD, PhD, vice president of clinical affairs for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. “We won’t see these dividends in their full glory for years.”

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