A new vaccine strategy could make flu shots cheaper, safer, and easier to produce.
…scientists at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (Germany’s Federal Research Institute for Animal Health), and biotech company CureVac in Tübingen have … designed a piece of mRNA encoding the hemagglutinin of the influenza strain H1N1. Cells use mRNA to shuttle the information contained in the genome from the nucleus into the periphery of the cell, where it is translated into a protein. By injecting synthetic mRNA into the skin of mice, the researchers coaxed the animals’ cells into producing the virus protein themselves. This elicited an immune response that later protected the animals from infection with otherwise lethal doses of influenza virus, the researchers reported online on 25 November in Nature Biotechnology.
Yessss….welll….ummmmm…. No, it wouldn’t be cheaper: RNA is EXPENSIVE to make under any circumstances. And there is a published alternative that would probably be MUCH easier: encapsidating mRNA made in cells via an alphavirus vector, in Tobacco mosaic virus coat protein!
Virology. 2007 Feb 20;358(2):321-33. Epub 2006 Oct 2.
Assembly of trans-encapsidated recombinant viral vectors engineered from Tobacco mosaic virus and Semliki Forest virus and their evaluation as immunogens.
Smith ML, Corbo T, Bernales J, Lindbo JA, Pogue GP, Palmer KE, McCormick AA.
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