Why mRNA Translation is So Important for Therapeutics


COVID-19 has changed the world and the very way in which people live their lives. With all the destruction brought about by COVID-19, there is one major benefit: the emergence of new and powerful mRNA technology.

?How Do mRNA Therapeutics Work

mRNA vaccines work by taking advantage of the natural process of mRNA translation. Translation occurs within all cells in a specialised organelle known as the ribosome. The information contained within mRNA is then used in the synthesis of protein throughout the body. Scientists have discovered that mRNA can be synthetically coded and introduced into the body; when mRNA is synthetically coded with the pathogen of a virus, it can stimulate an immune response and an antigen with a very powerful protective potential. Now that you understand a little more about what mRNA is and how it works, it is time to look into mRNA therapeutics' benefits compared to conventional vaccine approaches.

1. Faster Production Times

Before the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was created, the previous record for vaccine creation was five years. The reason that mRNA therapeutics have a much faster production time than conventional vaccines because of the way the vaccines are developed. mRNA vaccines are made in labs from DNA templates. DNA can be synthesized from an electronic sequence which can be sent across the world instantly. This means that any lab can access the information they need quickly and go about creating a vaccine. 

Conventional vaccines are made from viruses that are grown in mammalian cells or chicken eggs. The process of collecting and growing viruses, adapting these viruses, and then transporting these vaccines across the world is hugely complex and time-consuming.

2. Biosafety

mRNA vaccines only require a very small amount of a virus to be created, unlike conventional vaccines that need a large quantity of a virus to make a vaccine batch. This means that conventional vaccines are much more of a potential biosafety hazard due to the large volume of virus needed.

3. Treatment Possibilities

mRNAs are inherently 'programmable', which opens up a world of potentially unimaginable treatment possibilities. Scientists can now, theoretically, adjust the sequence of mRNA to suit any therapeutic protein. This means that mRNAs can be used to treat a wide range of different diseases. Some diseases that are already being researched with the aim of an mRNA treatment include cancer, viral disease, and liver diseases. The previously mentioned focuses are by no means the extent to mRNA potential treatment applications.

4. Immune Response

Researchers claim that mRNA vaccines create a stronger immune response to certain viruses and diseases than traditional vaccines. This is because mRNA is injected into the body, where it enters the cells and provides instructions to produce antigens. These antigens are then presented to the immune system, which prompts T-cell and antibody responses that fight off the disease. Conventional vaccines work when an antigen is injected into the body. The immune system then produces specific antibodies to this antigen in preparation for the next time the body encounters these antigens.

The four examples by no means represent an exhaustive list of the benefits of mRNA technology in therapeutics. They are only meant to illustrate just some of the reasons why mRNA translation is so important for the future of global healthcare.