COVID-19 made messenger RNA (mRNA) a celebrated vaccine technology and now researchers are looking at how to use it to protect the population against other threats, including influenza.
There’s more research to be done, but the potential is there for self-amplifying mRNA, Roberta Duncan, Vice President and mRNA Program Lead at global influenza vaccines leader Seqirus, explained in a recent STAT News article.
“We expect to advance our sa-mRNA technology from the preclinical phase into Phase 1 clinical trials later this year,” Duncan said. “We’re excited about the potential of sa-mRNA and will continue to follow the science and data as we pursue further development.”
STAT, a Boston-based news hub for biotech, science and health care, explains how sa-mRNA differs from both traditional vaccine tech and mRNA. Messenger RNA vaccines give the immune system instructions to make a virus protein that stimulates an immune response and leaves a blueprint to recognize and fight a future infection.
The potential for sa-mRNA is that it “can trigger production of more protein and more potent cellular immune responses than an equivalent amount of mRNA, subsequently increasing the body’s ability to fight the influenza virus.”