CNN explains why scientists are so excited:
When the final Phase 3 data came out last November showing the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were more than 90% effective, Dr. Anthony Fauci had no words. He texted smiley face emojis to a journalist seeking his reaction. This astonishing efficacy has held up in real-world studies in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere. The mRNA technology developed for its speed and flexibility as opposed to expectations it would provide strong protection against an infectious disease has pleased and astonished even those who already advocated for it…
This approach that led to remarkably safe and effective vaccines against a new virus is also showing promise against old enemies such as HIV, and infections that threaten babies and young children, such as respiratory syncytial virus and metapneumovirus. It’s being tested as a treatment for cancers, including melanoma and brain tumors. It might offer a new way to treat autoimmune diseases. And it’s also being checked out as a possible alternative to gene therapy for intractable conditions such as sickle cell disease.
In fact, Moderna is already working on personalized cancer vaccines, the article points out — and that’s just the beginning. Two researchers whose technology underlies both the Modern and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines are now also working on two vaccines against HIV, another one to prevent genital herpes, and two targeting influenza, including a so-called universal influenza vaccine that could protect against rapidly mutating flu strains, possibly offering years of protection with a single shot.
And researchers have also studied mRNA vaccines to fight Ebola, Zika, rabies and cytomegalovirus.
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