Please, PLEASE, let this be true!
Apparently there's a new vaccine that could give lifelong protection against the flu virus! The key is to make it out of messenger RNA (mRNA) – the genetic material that controls the production of proteins. Not only may it work for life, and it may be possible to manufacture it quickly enough to stop a pandemic!
This is awesome news because every time we become to immune to one of the flu viruses, it continues to evolve, so one year's strain is completely different from the next. Plus, most flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs or cell culture, a process that takes at least six months — it's not exactly quick.
Then the World Health Organization has to predict which strains are going to be worse ahead of time!
The mRNA vaccine can be mass-produced in a few weeks and can be turned into a freeze-dried powder that does not need refrigeration, unlike most vaccines. Blowing your minds already?
An injection of mRNA is picked up by immune cells, which translate it into protein. These proteins are then recognised by the body as foreign, generating an immune response. The immune system will then recognise the proteins if it encounters the virus subsequently, allowing it to fight off that strain of flu.
The bummer is that so far, trial RNA vaccines have failed. This happens because the blood destroys it way too fast. But that's not the end — a company called CureVac has found that a protein called protamine, binds to mRNA and protects it. That company even has an mRNA vaccine against prostate and lung cancer tumors in human trials!
Let's hope this shizz works out, LOLz!
[Image via AP Images.]