According to researcher Katalin Karikó, mRNA technology could soon be used against a number of other diseases in addition to corona vaccines. mRNA vaccines, for example against HIV, the herpes simplex virus (HSV), but also against influenza are being developed and are already being tested in clinical studies, Karikó told the “Deutsches Ärzteblatt”. She is considered a key pioneer in the development of mRNA-based vaccines.
The deployment of "the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines did not happen overnight," emphasized Karikó, who currently works at the Hungarian University of Szeged (Szeged) and the University of Pennsylvania (USA). The vaccines were preceded by around 60 years of intensive research. The boost from the corona pandemic could affect the development of other vaccines.
Karikó referred to several vaccines that have already come a long way in clinical trials: there are currently phase 3 studies on the use of mRNA-based vaccines against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which affects the airways, and against influenza viruses.
Another interesting aspect are cross-acting vaccines against pathogens that are transmitted by ticks. The vaccination, which is currently being tested on animals, is directed against various proteins in tick saliva that help pathogens to spread in the host body. "When animals were vaccinated with it, redness appeared at the bite site after the tick bite, but the immune response immediately stopped the spread of the pathogen," said Karikó. RNA technology also offers great potential for the treatment of cancer.