Recently authorized coronavirus vaccines from Moderna (MRNA 2.96%) and the Pfizer (PFE -1.03%)-BioNTech (BNTX 2.63%) team are the first messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines ever to be commercialized. Dr. Bruce Gellin of the Sabin Vaccine Institute joined Corinne Cardina and Olivia Zitkus of Fool.com's Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau on a Dec. 18 episode of Fool Live to talk about some of the possibilities of the mRNA platform in vaccine and drug development.
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Olivia Zitkus: As an expert on these vaccines, are you encouraged by the future of the mRNA platform for vaccine production and development?
Dr. Bruce Gellin: It's really exciting. The other part about this is that mRNA vaccine technology was not invented when this pandemic began. This is a technology that's been explored for some time for a range of things from cancer to other immune responses, and now its time had come. So it's very encouraging. I think everybody was more than pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. Based on the previous studies, nobody was surprised we could create this immune response. We've seen that with other coronaviruses, we've seen that with other viruses. These companies have portfolios that are looking at other things as well, and we can understand that this is an approach that will provide immunity, but until you do the clinical trials, you don't actually know whether that immunity correlates with protection. So for those reasons it's very attractive. I think we might be lured into thinking we solve all the problems because mRNA is going to answer all our problems. It's likely to answer some, but I don't think it's going to answer all, which is why I am encouraged by the wealth of other technologies that are out there that might or might not work for coronavirus but might emerge for other problems that we have.