GEN Magazine Spotlight

June 2022 Vol. 42, No. 6

Overnight successes are usually anything but. Consider messenger RNA (mRNA). As a medical modality, it burst upon the scene soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started. We all know the story: Two lifesaving mRNA vaccines came from nowhere. But wait … really. Nowhere? Are we to overlook the decades of R&D that culminated in these vaccines? Maybe so. Bringing up all that history now would be like saying, “I loosened it for you.” Perhaps the better course is to point out that R&D is ongoing. Indeed, as this Special Report demonstrates, R&D is livelier than ever. Advances include more rugged mRNA, programmable mRNA, self-replicating RNA, and better targeted mRNA. Moreover, manufacturing bottlenecks (in purification, for example) are being eliminated, ensuring that exciting new mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics will reach patients quickly—so quickly that we could be forgiven if, sometime soon, we were to celebrate a series of “overnight successes.”

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