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Newly Developed RNA-Based Vaccine Could Offer Lifelong Protection From the Flu 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-shot-to-rule-them-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new experimental flu vaccine made out of messenger RNA that may work for life is now being developed. German researchers said on Sunday that the vaccine, made of the genetic material that controls the production of proteins, protected animals against influenza and, unlike traditional vaccines, it may work for life and can potentially be manufactured quickly enough to stop a pandemic (abstract)."
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Newly Developed RNA-Based Vaccine Could Offer Lifelong Protection From the Flu

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  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:15PM (#42099757) Homepage

    So, what you're saying is that it is a self boosting story [slashdot.org]?

    Not the same. The Ars article is a generic piece about some implications in terms of herd immunity of 'self boosting' vaccines. The current Fine Article is about a specific type of vaccine that would be long lived (if it lives up to what the researchers have found in lab animals). This flu virus would fit the definition of a 'self boosting' virus but it's not really what the first article was discussing.

    Sometimes subtle things make a difference.

    I'm surprised they managed to get the RNA into cells to the point where the proteins were transcribed. This technique may have many more uses than just vaccines. Interesting stuff.

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Informative)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:35PM (#42099923)

    It's possible they used a different capsid structure to deliver the payload, and delivered the RNA that way.

    There is a whole class of viruses that deposit RNA instead of DNA. It isn't all that new.

    In typical slashdot tradition, I did not read the article; if they are using some other mechanism besides a virus capsid to deliver the RNA, that would indeed be novel.

    Even more novel still, would be an epigenetic approcah that alters the way human cytoplasm interacts with influenza mRNA, preventing "expected" synthesis by having cytoplasmic cofactors influence expression. (Happens with a lot of nuclear DNA sequences already.)

    Still, all of those systems are sufficiently new as scientific fields that experimenting on humans is potentially quite risky. Epigentics is absurdly new, as is proteomics.

    Not to say they aren't potentially viable, just not prudent to seriously pursue in humans at this time.

  • Re:DO NOT WANT.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:40PM (#42099949) Homepage

    You know that you don't have to actually be sick to take sick days?

    In Finland (and possibly the other Nordic countries whose welfare states served as a model for Finland's) you don't get a sick day unless you visit your neighbourhood's clinic in the morning and get a doctor to sign off on the sick day. On the plus side, you get paid for the day.

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Guppy (12314) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:45PM (#42099981)

    It's possible they used a different capsid structure to deliver the payload, and delivered the RNA that way.

    They didn't. From what I can tell, it's naked mRNA, stabilized by associating it with Protamines [wikipedia.org] (Arginine-rich nucleoproteins found in sperm, which serve a histone-like function in packing genetic material).

    In typical slashdot tradition, I did not read the article; if they are using some other mechanism besides a virus capsid to deliver the RNA, that would indeed be novel.

    :P

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:33PM (#42100371)

    If the vaccine works in people,

    That is the catch. It has not worked so far in people, or animals for that matter. But $scientist speculates it might. Till more data comes through we should soak the RNA in snake oil before freeze drying it.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. I've been following this for a while now and the approach is sound. The standard ways viruses develop resistance simply won't work with this approach. It'd be a non specific antiviral so if should work on any virus. Sadly prions would likely be immune but not viruses. It's at least a decade off and maybe more but there is a lot of promise. There's reason to think viruses and bacterial infections will be treatable or preventable within the next 20 years. In the meantime we are loosing the war so we need out of the box thinking because millions will die while we are waiting for real treatments to be developed.

  • Re:Great idea .... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:03PM (#42100663)

    America already eradicated most of the world's diseases, or did I miss something?

    An education.

  • Re:Great idea .... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sulphur (1548251) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:26PM (#42101417)

    This is why it is being done in Germany. Countries with socialized health care systems are putting a lot of funding into permanent cures.
    It is why when I graduate I will probably end up going to another country to work for a while. If you want to want to do permanent cures for disease then the USA is not currently the place to do it, the profit motive of medicine in the USA basically works against it happening.

    An example:

    Albert Sabin was ready for large-scale tests, but he could not carry them out in the United States. A rival polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk (1914–1995) in 1954 was then being tested for its ability to prevent the disease among American school children. Salk's approach was to create a vaccine using a killed form of the virus.

    Some foreign virologists, especially those from the Soviet Union, were convinced of the superiority of the Sabin vaccine. It was first tested widely in Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and East Germany from 1957 to 1959. A much smaller group of persons living in Sweden, England, Singapore, and the United States received Sabin's vaccine by the end of 1959.

    Read more: http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ro-Sc/Sabin-Albert.html#ixzz2DNmMbwbD [notablebiographies.com]

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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