Building on the momentum of its unusually successful COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, biotechnology company Moderna has announced three new targets for mRNA development. The company is now targeting a vaccine against the herpes simplex virus, chickenpox virus and a new cancer vaccine.
In early 2020, when the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly around the world, causing a global pandemic, MRNA vaccine researchers have joined. Decades of work have, fortunately, put this new technology as ready for transition in a long time, and by the end of the year the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine had demonstrated exceptional safety and efficacy.
Accelerating mRNA vaccines from experimental technology into the hands of billions of people has paved the way for new areas of research. So while it is clear that technology can create a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, what else can it do?
Moderna, one of the biotechnology companies involved in mRNA development, has just announced three new development goals. These three new targets for the mRNA vaccine are next to previously announced campaign focuses on HIV, influenza, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
The biggest recently announced target is the mRNA vaccine against herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes virus – HSV-1, a virus that is known to infect the mouth and cause herpes, and HSV-2, the most common source of genital herpes.
Moderna’s mRNA vaccine candidate will be targeted for HSV-2, with the company indicating that it expects immunity against this type of herpes to be to some extent a cross-defense against HSV-1. Both herpes viruses are known as latent viruses, which means that the infection is often chronic and the virus remains dormant in humans throughout their lives.
HSV-1 is estimated to have infected more than half of the world’s population, while HSV-2 is the most common sexually transmitted disease, with about 10 percent of people believed to be infected. Some researchers too suggested the herpes virus may play a role in onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The second mRNA target, declared Moderna, targets the chickenpox virus (VSV). It is a virus that causes chickenpox as well as a latent virus that can remain dormant for many years after the initial infection. When VSV is reactivated, it causes a disease known as shingles.
Targeting Moderna on shingles is worth it an announcement last month from Pfizer indicating that it will also seek the development of an mRNA vaccine for this common disease.
The final recently announced target for mRNA is a vaccine targeting two antigens expressed by some cancer cells. The vaccine focuses on two antigens: indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1).
It is known that both molecules play a role in the growth of tumor cells. The goal of the mRNA vaccine against cancer would be to teach the body’s immune cells to detect tumor cells that express these specific antigens. The mRNA vaccine will initially be tested for advanced or metastatic skin cancer and a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer.
“We strive to fight latent viruses in order to prevent the lifelong medical conditions they cause with our mRNA vaccine programs,” said Stefan Bansel, CEO of Moderna. quality of life for those with symptomatic disease. With our new cancer vaccine checkpoint we look forward to exploring whether we can induce T cells specific for PD-L1 and IDO1 through vaccination. Our research teams are working on additional mRNA candidates that we are looking forward to sharing in the future. ”
Moderna announces 3 new targets for mRNA vaccine, including herpes and cancer
Source link Moderna announces 3 new targets for mRNA vaccine, including herpes and cancer