mRNA vaccine tech can be harnessed to prevent deadly diseases: Report

Health |  IANS  | Published :

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The success of mRNA vaccine technology as seen during the recent Covid-19 pandemic offers hope for using the platform to reduce preventable illness across multiple disease areas, according to a report on Wednesday.

The report by GlobalData, a data and analytics company, as part of World Immunization Week, shows that there are about 507 prophylactic or preventive vaccines currently in late-stage development, of which 88 are being developed using the mRNA technology to prevent diseases ranging from tuberculosis, malaria, to influenza, Covid-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Lyme disease, amongst others.

Unlike other vaccine technologies, mRNA enables rapid production and adaptability for evolving targets. While these vaccines require ultra-cold storage, modifying this would make it even more desirable.

World Immunization Week is observed every year during the last week of April to raise awareness about the potential of vaccines to prevent disease and protect life.

“Vaccinations have heavily reduced the burden of disease in our society. We have already seen the eradication of smallpox and are very close to achieving the same with polio. Promoting immunisation, improving vaccination schedules, and developing new vaccines are all methods that will contribute towards a decrease in morbidity mortality,” said Anaelle Tannen, Infectious Disease Analyst at GlobalData.

Currently, over 20-life threatening diseases are preventable with vaccines. In addition, novel mechanisms are expected to broaden the scope of available preventable vaccines in the coming years.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that vaccines prevent about 3.5-5 million deaths annually from diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, and measles.

“The recent Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the need for effective vaccines, improving vaccination access and acceptance, in order to protect the health, wellness, and security of the world population,” Tannen said.

“Whilst immunisation is one of the cheapest and most effective public health interventions, enabling the eradication of disease, vaccine hesitancy is still very much present, and especially with the mRNA approach. Therefore, more work is needed to encourage acceptance of this immunisation strategy among the public,” Tannen added.

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