mRNA vaccines may be key to solving a list of health problems

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have now heard of – and have received – an mRNA vaccine…It’s such a game changer that it raises some very big, exciting questions: could mRNA vaccines provide a cure for cancers, HIV, tropical diseases, and even give us superhuman immunity?

Messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA for short, is a single-stranded molecule that carries genetic code from DNA to a cell’s protein-making machinery. Without mRNA, your genetic code wouldn’t be used, proteins wouldn’t be made, and your body wouldn’t work. If DNA is the bank card, then mRNA is the card reader…

If treatments for cancer, HIV and tropical disease are coming along with mRNA 2.0, then what could be even further down the line with 3.0?…

There’s…potential for more general commercial health and wellbeing applications. For example, Dragony Fu suggests that lactose intolerance – that affects hundred of millions of people of Asian origin, including himself, and indeed an estimated 68% of the global population – could one day be targeted: “I’m missing the protein that allows me to break down lactose. In the future, you could develop some way of delivering the message, the mRNA, that that will make the protein that breaks down lactose… it’s not life threatening, but I could imagine that being a billion-dollar industry.”

This is one of those new directions in science that makes me wish I was decades younger. I’ll probably be around long enough to witness several more life-enhancing uses for mRNA techniques. I’d love to have a career that could take me directly into the research and development of this new means of healing.

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