COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough also important for other diseases

The success of the technology used in the vaccine candidates against COVID-19 developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, which are currently in late-stage trials, are very good news for other diseases as well. They are using mRNA technology, which scored an impressive efficacy rate of over 90% on interim findings. The European research projects B-SMART and EXPERT both aim at developing mRNA therapies to be used for different diseases: B-SMART targets neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s while EXPERT aims to apply them to combat cancer and cardiovascular disease. Raymond Schiffelers (UMCU), coordinator of both projects, says the major advantage of the technology is that vaccine developers could mount an ultra-fast response: “Within weeks, testing can start, a major advantage over conventional vaccines,” he says. This recent success of mRNA technology in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic makes Schiffelers confident as it shows that his consortia are on the right track!

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