A nurse prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc, in Binghamton, New York. Photo: AP file
health

How two companies sprinted ahead in extraordinary race for a COVID vaccine

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By Michael Erman and Julie Steenhuysen

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© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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The mRNA technology is still not complete, for many kinds of uses (cancer or gene therapy) it requires a lot of extra optimization because it still have a lot of troubles like difficult delivery to specific kinds of cells and the time it acts is short because the mRNA is degraded inside the cells over just days.

The thing is that for a COVID-19 vaccine the current status is good enough, it is not needed that the vaccine reaches every single cell of the body, or that is can produce proteins for months. The bad points of the technology are not so important for this purpose, and their best strengths (safety, ease of production) are exactly what was needed.

It does not take a genius to figure out that if you have something that could do well for this purpose, you should spend what is necessary to adapt it and test it so you can offer it to help with a very serious problem.

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