Let’s Tackle Disease

I’m a big believer in positivity. I like to think that I can see the glass as being half full most of the time. Sure, I can find myself in a bit of a funk from time to time, but I’ve found a good remedy of that is to find something positive and focus on that. And I like to share those, as I like to think they can help others have a bit of a better day.

Today’s ray of sunshine comes from the world of science:

Moderna is looking to use the mRNA technology that formed the basis of the COVID vaccines to develop new vaccines for 15 of the world’s worst deceases, including ebola, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. In fact, the HIV vaccine went into trials last year. The rest are planned to go into trials by 2025. All 15 illnesses are chosen for their classification as “persistent global health threats”. Just try and wrap your head around how that has worked. Usually, when a new vaccine or cure is invented, it comes either from a “eureka” moment, where a science team will discover something that looks promising, tests it against a given illness, and, with positive results, it goes to production. Or, it comes from a decision to focus on a specific illness, and after a long, hard slog, you come up with something. Here, Moderna has decided to take their technology and apply to the top 15 most problematic diseases in the world. It’s topsy-turvy, and I love it!

But wait! There’s more!

In the same release, Modena also officially stated their promise from a while back to permanently waive its patents in low- and middle-income countries on the COVID-19 vaccine, making it possible to set up local production. This will apply to 92 countries. They also announced the construction of a production facility for COVID-19 vaccines in Kenya, producing up to 500 million doses of the vaccine for the continent.

And, in the words of the late Steve Jobs, there’s one more thing. Potentially bigger than the main news of the release, actually. The release, and comments made from Drew Weissman, confirmed that it is possible that mRNA can do what was first touched upon when the technology was used in the COVID-19 pandemic: be a plug-and-play vaccine platform, where simply replacing the protein code allows you to relatively quickly and inexpensively create new vaccines, rather than having to build a new one from scratch.

As my former colleague, Martin Harbech, have reminded me a few times, more than 90 % of all the scientists that have ever lived, lived right now, and this is proof of what they can accomplish.

This post was originally shared on my LinkedIn. I tend to share different things here and on LinkedIn, with some overlap. If you want to catch it all, Pokemon-style, follow me there, too.

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