After the last year, we’ve seen just how progressive we can be at developing a vaccine. Never before have we made one so efficiently. But COVID has done more than just spark the development of COVID-specific vaccines, it has advanced the entire industry. So what will the vaccines of the future look like?
Vaccinology is a discipline that is positioned at the focal point of immunology, virology, microbiology, public health, economics, sociology, ethics, and even international diplomacy. So when one thinks about the future of vaccines, one has to think about each of these elements, the future of each of these elements. And one of the most exciting developments for the invention and distribution of vaccines is mRNA.
mRNA vaccines are, of course, the new kids on the block and they’ve been extraordinarily efficacious in protecting against COVID-19. And the thing that everyone says is that these vaccines were developed in such a short time, in a period of 11 months or so.
But the important point to remember is that it’s not as if we didn’t know about the mRNA vaccines prior to the emergence of COVID-19. There were teams of scientists working on this concept for years. It just so happened that when COVID-19 emerged, they were rapidly able to pivot and to use that technology, that investment that they had made over the last decade, to try and apply this to COVID-19.
But if we could pool everything we know about influenza viruses or the different kinds of coronaviruses and teach the immune system to look for more than just individual antigens, then we would bypass the need for these hyper-specific vaccines.
The Chilling Experiment Which Created the First Vaccine
Smallpox used to kill millions. But a chance discovery led to the first vaccine, and a transformation in human health.
Infection-Induced Epigenetic Changes and Their Impact on the Pathogenesis of Diseases
Epigenetic modifications play a fundamental role in the regulation of cellular gene expression. In addition to their role in mediating short-term responses, some epigenetic marks can also be stably transmitted throughout cell divisions. Such mechanisms are of quintessential importance for the maintenance of cellular identity, and also convey a learning system that allows cells to respond and adapt to environmental changes. In recent years, infections have emerged as one of the triggers, which can profoundly alter epigenetic patterns.
Control of Viral Infections by Epigenetic-Targeted Therapy
Epigenetics is defined as the science that studies the modifications of gene expression that are not owed to mutations or changes in the genetic sequence. Recently, strong evidences are pinpointing toward a solid interplay between such epigenetic alterations and the outcome of human cytomegalovirus infection. Guided by the previous possibly promising experimental trials of human immunodeficiency virus epigenetic reprogramming, the latter is paving the road toward two major approaches to control viral gene expression or latency.