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Does RNA Change Our Lives Forever?

RNA (RNA) is a new rising star in the field of medicine, as it is the source of new vaccines that may eliminate the devastating Corona virus with all its mutations, and it is the beginning of a vaccination revolution not only against Covid-19, but against many serial killers from Microbes.


With this introduction, the French magazine Le Point summarized an article shared by Gwendolyn dos Santos and Caroline Torp, in which they said that the “RNA” messenger – who appeared out of nowhere and took the lead in vaccinating “Covid-19” – promises to treat a wide range of diseases, As cystic fibrosis, cancers, and even neurological diseases, it may have a magical ability to cure almost everything.

“RNA” was nothing mentioned before its discovery in the early 1960s, when it became known that it copies in the nucleus of cells, exits from them and never returns, taking with him a copy of the genetic code carried by his older brother “DNA” and his purpose is to transfer The message is to the cells of the body, hence the name “messenger”.

In this way, the original copy of the genetic code remains hidden and preserved by the nucleus, while the translated version comes out into a language understood by cellular systems to make them perform their functions, and the protein factories, ribosomes, translate them into essential components for the proper functioning of cells.

“RNA has remained the weak link in biology due to its fragility,” says Frank Martin, a researcher in the architecture and reactivity of the RNA unit at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg.

Despite the difficulty of dealing with it due to its fragility, biologists are interested in this molecule, and they have known for more than 20 years that it is very flexible, evolving and can do many things, unlike its inactive “DNA” brother.

RNA has been of interest to biologists for 20 years (Getty Images)

The new star

Conventional methods used to inject a person with whole, inactivated or dead viruses or simple virus fragments, or with a portion of the virus genome incorporated into another harmless virus to educate the immune system.

But the prowess in messenger RNA technology pioneered by Pfizer and Moderna lies in operating the body’s cells so they do all the work.

This is done – according to the magazine – by providing cells with the precious plan to build viral proteins capable of stimulating good immunity, and this plan for “Star-Cove 2” that causes “Covid-19” is the famous “Spike” proteins on the surface of the virus.

This precious plan is engraved on messenger RNA, in which the vaccine encapsulates a few dozen micrograms of messenger RNA that encodes the spike protein into fat bubbles to allow it to reach the membrane of muscle cells and enter them unobstructed.

The ribosomes read the message on the messenger RNA, and the viral proteins that appear on the surface of cells are formed, and the body then senses the “danger” and triggers an immune response and takes it into account for its future defenses.

Although this seems logical and easy, there are many obstacles to getting there. Bruno Pittard, RNA pioneer and director of research at the Nantes-Angers Center, says that numerous attempts to vaccinate RNA have been made over the past decade but have been blocked in phase one or two clinical trials.

The ingenuity of messenger RNA lies in operating the body’s cells so they can do all the work (Maria Voigt – Wikimedia)

Unexpected opportunities

“The Corona epidemic has created unexpected opportunities for biotechnology companies that have stubbornly continued to bet on RNA at a time when the big companies withdrew,” the researcher adds.

He pointed out that some laboratories withdrew from the messenger RNA, including the Pasteur Institute in particular, due to the story of failure in the attempt to develop the first vaccine in the world based on “RNA” messenger against influenza given to mice, when young Frederick Martinon joined him. From the National Institute of Health and Medical Research who chose the messenger RNA.

The researcher warned that the spread of AIDS in the early 1990s made scientists understand that making a vaccine requires finding a way to make antibodies inside infected cells, and it also marked a great era for gene therapy, where DNA is injected into cells to make them express genes.

However, the first attempts at treatment failed because DNA injection provokes a defense reaction in the body, although it is precisely this “unwanted” immune reaction that attracts the attention of immunologists and paves the way for vaccines based on genetic material.

In 2011 – the magazine says – a second opportunity came for Sanofi Pasteur, funded by the US Army Research Department, to develop vaccines based on the messenger RNA in the face of emerging diseases.

Pasteur had dealt with a small French company called “N Cell-Art” with very exciting results, but after 5 years of research, RNA buried the messenger to focus on other vaccine strategies.

The magazine went on to say that the research of the duo Catalin Carrico and Drew Weissmann found a solution by developing a method that allows time for RNA to work without causing destructive inflammation, and this “masquerade” technique is one of the cornerstones of future messenger RNA vaccines.

Corona has created unexpected opportunities for biotech companies that have bet on RNA (Getty Images)

What about other diseases?

With fine adjustments – the magazine says – RNA, the synthetic messenger, can turn any cells from the body into a drug factory once they are injected with it. Steve Pascalou of the German company CureVac says, “We can resort to (RNA) messenger in every problem. In theory, the possibilities are endless. “

On the other hand, Pitar returns to say that the efficiency of the messenger RNA is transient, denouncing that we say that we will treat everything thanks to the messenger RNA, such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and colds. “What is this? This is not the case.”

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