A scientist preparing the vaccine. Image released by National Cancer Institute
Image Credit: John Keith

Generally, when the outbreak of a disease takes places scientist work hard to prepare a vaccine to combat against those diseases. But, it takes a long time to prepare the vaccine for those diseases, and they are too risky. They consist of proteins which are produced by those microbes to produce a strong immune response in human bodies. As-a-result, human bodies can produce antibodies against those parasite to combat against them.

These conventional vaccines take longer time for scientist to produce. The longer time gap between the production of vaccines and outbreak of the disease result in the increase in death toll on the affected areas.

Now, the researchers at MIT have developed a new type of easily customizable vaccine that can be manufactured in one week. So, they can be sent to affected areas during the outbreak. They have developed vaccines against disease like Ebola, H1N1 influenza, and Toxoplasma gondii using this technology which was 100% effective against those disease in mice. This vaccine consists of strands of messenger RNA, which can be designed to code for any bacterial, viral or parasitic protein. Then, they are packaged into a molecule to deliver those RNA into cells which are later translated into proteins inside the human body to stimulate immune response inside the host body.

According to the researchers, these RNA vaccines are better than conventional vaccines because they can induce host cells to produce many copies of the proteins they encode which can cause the stronger immune reaction.

Though the idea of using messenger RNA in vaccines was introduced around 30 years ago, scientists were unable to find a safe and effective way to deliver them in the human body. To introduce them into human body, researchers introduced RNA vaccines into a nanoparticle made from a branched molecule known as the dendrimer Researchers can provide a temporary positive charge in dendrimer. As RNA is negatively charged, it allows dendrimer to form close associations with RNA. They can also control the size and pattern of the structure. They generated spherical vaccine particle having diameter of about 150 nanometers by the help of dendrimer- RNA structure. As this is similar to the size of virus, it can enter inside the cell by the help of same surface proteins that virus use to enter inside cells.

By customizing RNA, the researchers can design vaccines that produce any protein to induce human immune system. Besides this, these RNA molecules will undergo transcription to protein much more protein so that it could induce immune system easily without the use of external chemicals. This vaccine can be injected into the body by the help of intramuscular injection. Once those RNA molecules enter inside the cells, RNA translates into proteins and stimulates immune system. So, it will cause T cell and antibody response in our body.

Besides this, researchers believe that this method can be used to create vaccines which would teach our immune system to recognize and destroy tumors.

“This nano formulation approach allows us to make vaccines against new disease in only seven days, allowing the potential deal with sudden outbreaks or make rapid modifications and improvements,” says Daniel Anderson, an associate professor at MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering.

We’re hoping that this new RNA vaccine would be available soon, especially cancer vaccine so that many people don’t have to lose their lives after an epidemic strikes out.


This article was made by taking refrence from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



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MIT researchers have released programmable vaccine
Researchers at MIT has released a programmable vaccine using m-RNA that can be prepared in a week after the outbreak of a disease.
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