Messenger RNA Technology Could Be Used to Develop Infectious Disease Therapeutics

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U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force

August 8, 2022 | Originally published by US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases on July 7, 2022

Army scientists and industry partners were among the first to demonstrate that messenger RNA (mRNA)–the technology recently used in COVID-19 vaccines and others–could also be used to develop treatments for infectious diseases. Their work appears in the June 2022 issue of the journal Molecular Therapy Nucleic Acids, published by Cell Press.

Investigators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) collaborated on the study with scientists from CureVac, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a new class of drugs based on mRNA. Their central principle is to use mRNA as a data carrier for information that the body can use to produce its own therapeutic, effectively warding off disease.

The team set out to examine the capabilities of nucleic acid technology apart from vaccine development. To demonstrate proof of concept, they used several mRNAs carrying the “blueprint” for three separate monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)–proteins that help to produce an immune response. According to the lead author, Eric Mucker, Ph.D., when the mRNAs were administered to the same rabbit, all three mAbs were shown to be circulating in the blood within just one day.

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