Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel has been monitoring the new virus since the first case became known. In early January, he sent out an article about the new disease to his subordinates in The Wall Street Journal and told them to keep an eye on the news. Within 48 hours after Chinese scientists published the genetic sequence of the new virus online on January 11, Moderna specialists from Massachusetts drew up a plan to develop a vaccine. 42 days later, the company sent a batch of the initial version of the drug to the US national institutes of health for the first phase of trials. With its matrix RNA (mRNA) - based vaccine, Moderna is trying to create a fundamentally new way of gaining immunity to the disease. In early March, the drug was first tested in humans.
For a vaccine, this is incredibly fast --- it usually takes years to develop, and in some cases decades. But for the 47-year-old Bansel, this is too long. "We lose lives every day and are convinced that every day counts," the company's chief Executive emphasizes.
High rates are possible thanks to a new technology: we are talking about a vaccine based on mRNA (matrix RNA). mRNA vaccines can overcome many disadvantages of traditional vaccines: the development time, low effectiveness, and a certain risk of getting sick if the vaccine contains a live virus. MRNA-based drugs are like a computer program: not the viral protein itself, as in conventional vaccines, is introduced into the body, but the "code" for it, after which the body cells themselves become a factory that produces elements of the virus, which, in turn, trigger a defensive reaction of the immune system. In theory, this should make the drug safer and easier to develop and manufacture. This is why Moderna threw all its resources into creating a new COVID-19 vaccine, suspending work on other projects. Adam Glanzman / Bloomberg via Getty Images 1 of 8
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