You will undoubtedly have heard Moderna’s name in recent months as a developer of one of the vaccines for COVID-19.

by Michael Bray

Senior Research Analyst

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Moderna has developed proprietary technologies to create mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) sequences that cells recognise and respond to as if they are produced in our body.  Most importantly, this technology can prompt cells in the body to make proteins. Nearly every function in the human body (normal and disease-related) is carried out by one or more proteins.  mRNA technology instructs the body to make particular proteins that can help treat or prevent disease. Once these instructions are in the cell, human biology takes over: ribosomes (the body’s factory for making proteins) contained in the cells read the code and build the protein.

We know mRNA works in providing high protection against COVID-19, but it also has the potential to treat many other diseases such as cancer, HIV, cardiovascular, respiratory, autoimmune and rare genetic diseases. mRNA can both temporarily boost the production of needed proteins or inhibit the production of harmful ones – this is likened to using the body’s own cellular machinery as an on-demand drug factory. However until further substantive clinical data is collected, the potential of mRNA remains confined to theory.

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Autumn Issue Thirty Six