The new technologies used to rapidly create the highly-effective vaccines now being used to combat the coronavirus responsible for the COVDI-19 pandemic could also create medicines that could be used to fight other immune system-related illnesses, such as influenza, malaria and even cancer. In fact, the mRNA techniques used to produce a number of the coronavirus vaccines were already being used to develop a cancer vaccine, when that research was put on hold to pit the new technology against the virus driving the worldwide pandemic.

mRNA, short for “messenger ribonucleic acid”, is a single-stranded RNA molecule (as opposed to the double-strand structure that DNA is famous for) that contains the instructions necessary for a cell to produce a particular type of protein. In the case of the mRNA used in vaccines like the ones produced by Pfizer and Moderna, these instructions tell the body’s immune cells to produce antibodies keyed to latch on to the spike proteins that line the surface of the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

mRNA’s ability to introduce instructions for antigen production directly to the body’s cells has been investigated for over two decades by the biotech community, and the founders of German-based BioNTech, Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, were in the process of developing a cancer vaccine based on this technology when they heard of the spread of the novel coronavirus in January 2020; the husband and wife team set that research aside to investigate the possibility of using mRNA techniques to combat the then-budding outbreak that had brought China to a standstill.

Thanks to advances in genetic sequencing, Chinese researchers made the coronavirus’s genetic code available to the world by January 11, 2020, and mere weeks later BioNTech, along with U.S.-based partner Pfizer, had an experimental vaccine ready to face regulatory trials. This rapid development was also due to advances in genetic technologies: traditionally, vaccines were derived from inactive or severely weakened copies of the actual virus that the vaccine is supposed to fight, using processes that could take months, if not longer, to produce a viable formula. Today, researchers can download the virus’s genetic code from a server, isolate the portion of the virus that they want the vaccine to act upon—in this case, the segment that produces SARS-CoV-2’s infamous spike proteins—and throw away the rest of the code. This means that the researchers don’t actually have to have a live sample of the virus present to make their vaccine, and because only the code to make a specific part of the virus is being used, the patient never comes in contact with the actual virus, let alone any portions of it that could tell the body to produce more of the pathogen.

It’s this capacity to deliver a targeted treatment that has intrigued biotech researchers like Şahin and Türeci, opening the possibility of singling out specific pathogens, like cancer cells, that would otherwise be difficult for the immune system to tell apart from the body’s healthy cells.

“We have several different cancer vaccines based on mRNA,” Türeci said in an interview. In regards to when these vaccines might be available to the public, she said “that’s very difficult to predict in innovative development. But we expect that within only a couple of years, we will also have our vaccines (against) cancer at a place where we can offer them to people.”

While the vaccines being used to combat COVID-19 are fighting a more-or-less universal virus, cancer is typically caused by random mutations in the patient’s cells, meaning that each vaccine needs to be custom-made for the cells in the tumor. However, with the rapidity that a genetic sequence can be made and a vaccine can be designed (Moderna, for instance, had the formula for their mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine designed within two days of the release of the coronavirus’s genetic code), doctors could have a tailor-made treatment ready for a cancer patient in relatively short order.

The mRNA process could also be applied to vaccines that target other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and zika, and could offer broader protection from influenza, possibly to the point where a flu shot might only be required every five years, as opposed to the annual affair the vaccine requires at present.

In March, Şahin and Türeci were awarded Germany’s Order of Merit for their development of the tozinameran (better known as Comirnaty) life-saving vaccine. “You began with a drug to treat cancer in a single individual,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the couple as he conducted the award ceremony. “And today we have a vaccine for all of humanity.”

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  1. The “highly effective” vaccines… Yes. So the not FDA approved vaccines, fast tracked under operation warp speed (lol) by our oh so hated right wing president and supervised under the jurisdiction of the US military with big pharma companies who are shielded by law from any liability. What could go wrong? And look at what group of the population (primarily) who have become the cheerleaders for the whole scenario? Anyone else out there asking just how this happened? How exactly we got here? Does everything we’ve heard about this nonsense over the past year – the constant story changing, the obvious exaggerations and constant flip flopping of the “science” have the ring of truth to it? Does the body of authority who have told proven lies about so many things for so long suddenly now seem so trustworthy? Really? Does it really make sense that such a situation would require such a massive, coordinated propaganda campaign – now unprecedentedly enforced through big tech – to relentlessly try to convince us all the we need to/should/must take these shots? Yes I know some who have been sick with this, as well as a couple people (both in their eighties) who have died. But have your own eyes seen enough of this “deadly pandemic” to justify everything that has happened in response? If the same body of authority tried to cover the whole thing up instead – how many would have even noticed something other than a nasty flu season? I can’t say. People can call me names and such all they like, but this just doesn’t add up. For every article like this, I can find just as many more that take this whole thing apart. And now it seems that a former lead scientist and VP of Pfizer is attempting to warn everyone that the vaccine program is all a big dangerous lie. Fake news, eh? I guess everyone will just believe what they will.

    1. Look, you have every right to live under whatever rock you want to, and believe whatever cowslop you want to poison your mind with. Whatever form of denial gets you through these genuinely harsh times, go for it.

      But the rest of us have to deal with this pandemic as a harsh, verifiable reality, so would you please do the rest of us a favour and just flush this dangerous Qrap down where the rest of us don’t have to smell it?

      Look, I live in the fourth largest city in North America, and because of a nigh-continuous series of vaccine distribution problems we’re getting slammed hard by the VoCs–I know you think I’m some sort of ignorant lying sheeple that’s been brainwashed by your government or the pharmaceutical companies that have the run of your country, but this is a genuine, daily reality for us.

      It’s easy for you to sit there and accuse our Mayor, our Premier, our health officials from all levels of government, countless front line workers, journalists, friends, family and neighbours of lying about such a thing. To endorse sales of vaccines? I don’t think you understand the sheer cost (hint: hundreds of billions of dollars) that would be required to get all involved in line, just in my country alone. And out of the hundreds of millions of people worldwide that would be required to pull off such a scam–and I’m being conservative in that estimate–not one of them has had a spine, and come forward with what they know? (Those like Dr. Yeadon don’t claim to have any inside knowledge; since they have nothing to spill, they don’t count.)

      I’ve regretted trying to reason with you in the past, and I suspect this’ll be no different. I won’t bother addressing everything in your post–despite all of it being wrong–just some of the the stinkier piles:

      -Along with funding and logistics support for distribution, Operation Warp Speed only cut the red tape that typically drags out drug development over the course of years; aside from moving separate phases from a sequential to parallel format, I have been unable to find any instance of corners having been cut in the testing of these vaccines. If they had skimped on the trials, we would have had these vaccines last summer.

      If this is a lie (and undoubtedly you believe it to be), then present your evidence. Most of us need more than just your say-so.

      -I’m unaware of any “story changing” or “constant flip flopping of the ‘science'”. If you have any examples of this, then present your evidence.

      -Nothing about the severity of this disease has been exaggerated. On the contrary, all efforts to obfuscate the true nature of the disease have been to downplay its severity, from Party officials in China trying to quash news of its existence, to numerous politicians in the US–including the former President–trying to brush the disease off, as you put it, “a nasty flu”. We don’t need to imagine a hypothetical scenario where the authorities tried to cover it up, because some of those authorities did try. And they failed. So no, personally, I’ve never considered “the body of authority who have told proven lies about so many things for so long” (IE: administration #45) to be trustworthy.

      Once again, if the situation is actually being exaggerated in some shape, form or fashion, then present your evidence.

      -The “massive, coordinated propaganda campaign”, as you put it, is a counter-propaganda campaign, designed to combat the flood of disinformation propagated by those that would have no problem profiting off of the misery and deaths of millions.

      -“For every article like this, I can find just as many more that take this whole thing apart.”

      No, you can’t. Sure, there are plenty out there that rail against articles like this, but they don’t have a valid argument. Prove me wrong.

      -“And now it seems that a former lead scientist and VP of Pfizer is attempting to warn everyone that the vaccine program is all a big dangerous lie.” Michael Yeadon has not only been consistently wrong in regards to everything he’s said about COVID-19, he’s offered zero evidence for his outlandish, irresponsible and patently lethal claims; he’s just stating his beliefs, not what he actually knows. From all accounts, it appears that he’s a formerly valuable researcher that’s succumbed to the collective insanity that’s afflicted a not insignificant portion of the planet’s population.

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