Flu, cancer, HIV After Covid success, what next for mRNA vaccines?

The technology was viewed with scepticism before the pandemic but there is now growing confidence about its use


Guardian: It is one of the most remarkable success stories of the pandemic: the unproven technology that delivered the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in record time, helping to turn the tide on Covid-19.

The vaccines are based on mRNA, the molecule that instructs our cells to make specific proteins. By injecting synthetic mRNA, our cells are turned into on-demand vaccine factories, pumping out any protein we want our immune system to learn to recognise and destroy.

Pre-pandemic, the technology was viewed with scepticism – a clever concept, but not guaranteed to deliver. Now there is growing confidence that mRNA vaccines could have far-reaching applications in tackling diseases from flu to malaria.


Every February flu scientists take part in an annual ritual: bets are placed at a World Health Organization meeting on which flu strains will dominate the following winter. There are four influenza viruses in circulation, each rapidly evolving so that the previous year’s vaccines will have lost efficacy.

Manufacturers need at least six months to produce vaccines, a laborious process that involves growing attenuated virus inside millions of chicken eggs. When the flu forecast is on target, vaccines can be 60% effective, but a mismatch between vaccines and circulating strains can result in efficacy as low as 10%.

The holy grail of flu research is a universal vaccine that would work across all four strains…read more…


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  1. Fun Fact ; San Antonio Tx was the first SC fight for mandate..
    “The city of San Antonio, Texas, enacted an ordinance prohibiting any child from attending a public school or other places of education without having first presented a certificate of vaccination for smallpox. ” “Zucht v. King, 260 U.S. 174 (1922), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court found that the school district of San Antonio, Texas, could constitutionally exclude unvaccinated students from attending the schools in the district.”

  2. The tech is solid. Even one of the first inventors was surprised at the effectiveness.

    However, the temptation will certainly lead to progress, and the biology of the earth will respond. An escalation in the war against disease at the micro, will produce a response.
    What amazes us today, will horrify us tomorrow. But ,..if our technology coincides with concern for nature, and genuine connection to it, gifts come. Nature is a gift economy. Dance gently across the rice paper.

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