mRNA Vaccine Development Against Coronavirus Assisted By The NIAID

Moderna prophylactic vaccines include the ability to mimic natural infection to stimulate a more potent immune response, combining multiple mRNAs into a single vaccine

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A Massachusetts based biotechnology company announced a new collaboration to develop an mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

Under the terms of the agreement announced on January 23, 2020, Moderna Inc. will manufacture an mRNA vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease in humans.

The advantages of an mRNA approach to prophylactic vaccine development include the ability to mimic natural infection to stimulate a more potent immune response, combining multiple mRNAs into a single vaccine, rapid discovery to respond to emerging pandemic threats and manufacturing agility derived from the platform nature of mRNA vaccine design and production, said Moderna in this press statement.

The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), collaborated with Moderna when designing this vaccine candidate. Moderna said that the NIAID will conduct IND-enabling studies and a Phase 1 clinical study in the USA.

“Moderna’s commitment to global public health is aligned with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) vision of creating a world in which epidemics are no longer a threat to humanity,” said Richard Hatchett, M.D., CEO of CEPI, in this press release. 

“Through our partnership with Moderna and the NIAID, we hope to speed the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus and help to alleviate the burden of disease.”

Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, added “Advances in global public health require the collective effort of public-private partnerships – no organization can act alone. We are thankful for the financial support from CEPI and the multi-year scientific collaboration we have with the NIH.”

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can lead to respiratory illness, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and are transmitted between animals and people and can evolve into strains not previously identified in humans. 

Outbreaks of a Novel Coronavirus (nCoV), now known as SARS-CoV-2, are causing pneumonia-related infections in various countries during 2020. The risk to humans from these pneumonia outbreaks depends on the characteristics of the virus, the severity of resulting illness, and the ability of governments to control the impact of the virus, says the CDC.

As an example, on January 24, 2020, the Peoples Republic of China confirmed 887 cases, 1,076 suspected, 34 cases cured, and 26 related fatalities.

Moderna is advancing messenger RNA (mRNA) science to create a new class of transformative medicines for patients. 

Additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development news can be found at Precision Vaccinations.