Will RNA change our lives forever? | Sciences

RNA (RNA) is a new emerging star in the field of medicine because it is the source of new vaccines that can eliminate the destructive Corona virus with all its mutations, and it is the beginning of a revolution in vaccination not only against Covid- 19, but against many serial killers of microbes.


With this introduction, the French magazine Le Point (Le Point) summarized a joint article between Gwendolyn dos Santos and Caroline Torbe, in which they said that the “RNA” messenger – who appeared out of nowhere and took the lead with the vaccination of “Covid- 19” – promises to treat a wide range of diseases, from cystic fibrosis, cancers and even neurodegenerative diseases, it can have the magical ability to cure just about anything.

“RNA” was not something that was mentioned before its discovery in the early 1960s, when it became known that it was copied into the nucleus of cells and went out of it and never returned, with a copy of the genetic code which was worn by his older brother. “DNA” (DNA) and its purpose is to transmit the message to the cells of the body, hence the name “messenger”.

In this way, the original copy of the genetic code remains hidden and preserved in the core, while the translated copy goes out into a language that cellular systems understand to allow it to perform its functions, and protein factories, ribosomes, translate it into essential components for the proper functioning of cells.

“RNA has remained the weak link in biology because of its fragility,” says Frank Martin, a researcher in RNA architecture and interaction at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg.

Although difficult to handle due to its fragility, biologists have been interested in this molecule, and they have known for over 20 years that it is very flexible, evolving and can do many things, unlike its dormant brother, “DNA “.

RNA has been intrigued by biologists for 20 years (Getty Images)

new star

Conventional methods were to inject a person with whole, inactivated or dead viruses or simple viral fragments, or a portion of the virus genome that was incorporated into another harmless virus to educate the immune system.

But the ingenuity of messenger RNA technology, released by Pfizer and Moderna, is to get the body’s cells to do all the work.

This is done – according to the magazine – by providing cells with the precious plan to build viral proteins that can stimulate good immunity, and this plan for “Star-Cove2” that causes “Covid-19” is the well-known “spike” proteins found on the surface of the virus.

This precious scheme is engraved on messenger RNA, where in the vaccine a few tens of micrograms of the messenger RNA encoding the nail protein are encapsulated in lipid bubbles to allow it to reach and enter the muscle cell membrane unimpeded. .

The ribosomes read the message on the messenger RNA, and viral proteins are formed that appear on the surface of the cells, when the body senses the “danger” and initiates an immune response, taking it into account for its future defense.

Although it sounds logical and easy, there are many obstacles to get there. Numerous RNA vaccination attempts have been made over the past decade, but have been blocked in Phase I or II clinical trials, says Bruno Petard, an RNA pioneer and director of research at the Nantes-Angers Center.

The ingenuity of messenger RNA technology gets the body’s cells to do all the work (Maria Voigt – Wikimedia)

unexpected opportunities

The researcher adds, “The Corona epidemic created unexpected opportunities for biotechnology companies, which stubbornly continued to bet on RNA while the big companies withdrew.”

He pointed out that some laboratories withdrew from the topic of “RNA” messenger, including the Pasteur Institute in particular, due to the story of a failure in an attempt to develop the first vaccine in the world based on “RNA” messenger given against flu. to mice, when young Frederic Martinon joined him.From the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, which chose “RNA” as the messenger.

The researcher warned that the spread of AIDS in the early 1990s led scientists to understand that making a vaccine requires finding a way to make antibodies within infected cells, and that this is also a great era for gene therapy, where DNA is injected into cells to make it. gene expression.

However, the first attempts at treatment failed because the injection of DNA elicited a defensive response in the body, although it is precisely this “undesirable” immune response that attracts the attention of immunologists and paves the way for vaccines based on genetic material.

In 2011 – says the magazine – came a second opportunity for Sanofi Pasteur, funded by the US Army Research Department, to develop vaccines that rely on the messenger “RNA” in the face of the threat of emerging diseases.

Pasteur was dealing with a small French company called “Ncell-Art” with very exciting results, but after 5 years of research, “RNA” buried the messenger to focus on other vaccine strategies.

The journal added that the research of the duo Catalin Cariko and Drew Wiseman, who found a solution by developing a method that allows time for RNA to work without causing destructive inflammation, and this “masquerade” technology is one of the cornerstones of future “RNA”. “messenger vaccines.

Human immune system and virus
Corona has created unexpected opportunities for biotechnology companies betting on RNA (Getty Images)

What about other diseases?

With subtle modifications – says the magazine – the artificial messenger “RNA” can change any cells of the body in a drug factory by simply injecting it with it, says Steve Pascalo of the German company CureVac, “We can in any problem the ( RNA) messenger. Theoretically, the possibilities are endless. “

On the other hand, Betar goes back to saying that the effectiveness of the messenger RNA is transient, refusing to say that we will cure everything thanks to the messenger RNA such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and the common cold, “What is it? ? That is not the case.”

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