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The Journal Nature Explores Self-amplifying mRNA

Nature recently talked with CSL’s Roberta Duncan and other experts in the field to explain the innovation of self-amplifying mRNA, a new type of vaccine that instructs the body to make more mRNA and protein to boost the immune response.

Illustration of a molecule of mRNA

Before the pandemic, most people had never heard of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, but the world received a fast education when the technology was used in COVID-19 vaccines. In December, CSL shared a milestone about a new vaccine technology called self-amplifying mRNA.

How is a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine different from an mRNA vaccine? An mRNA vaccine helps protect against infectious diseases by providing a blueprint for cells in the body to make a protein to help our immune systems recognize and fight the disease. Different from standard mRNA vaccines, self-amplifying-mRNA vaccines instruct the body to make more mRNA and protein to boost the immune response.

The December 6 article in Nature called self-amplifying mRNA vaccines “a pivotal advance” and said the vaccine platform could potentially be used to protect against infectious diseases and cancers. The article also provided an illustration that contrasted conventional mRNA vaccines and self-amplifying mRNA vaccines.

See the article and illustration in Nature.

The article quotes Roberta Duncan, CSL’s mRNA Program Lead.

“The innovation of self-amplifying mRNA brings the opportunity to provide greater public health protection against respiratory viruses and in other disease states. By providing insight into key differentiators between sa-mRNA and conventional mRNA vaccines such as eliciting a broader immune response and greater duration of effect, the article does a good of job helping readers understand the opportunities for this new modality in the COVID market. As we apply the sa-mRNA technology to other pathogens, we will also demonstrate the robustness of the platform,” Duncan said.