What if you could replicate your body’s response to a vaccine with your own body cells? How would that affect your health? And what if it didn’t just create a strong immune response, but also prevented the disease in its very first flush, or formative stages?
That’s what Moderna Therapeutics is trying to do. Moderna is developing what it calls messenger RNA vaccines. The idea is to use the same protein that flu vaccine triggers an immune response.
But instead of pushing an antigen over the spout, Moderna hopes to use an ordinary RNA and deliver it to the human body directly to affect it.
Moderna still has a long way to go before it releases these vaccine. The first vaccine is still at least a few years away.
The successful vaccine that has been created looks almost like a chemical steroid in a spoon. On a semi-literal level, it produces antibodies that are like steroids in an ant. Researchers put the vaccine on a tape which, they say, delays the immune response. When the tape is removed, the two chemicals together give off another, still steroid-like chemical. That chemical is what prevents the virus from acquiring a foothold in the body’s cells.
The latest success is the first vaccine designed for six to 11 year olds. Researchers used a viral “reconfiguration” to put viruses back into the bodies of mice, researchers say. The infected mice developed better antibodies against the virus, researchers say. In this case, the vaccine delayed the virus from multiplying, which prevented the virus from infecting the mouse’s cells.
These vaccine treatments still have a long way to go before they are available in humans. But researchers say by combining the best parts of traditional vaccines, and the best parts of steroid-like boosters, they’re creating a stronger, safer and more effective vaccine for kids.