Research in one area often pays off by revealing opportunities in other areas. The quest to put a man on the moon in the 1960s, for example, led to developments in areas completely unrelated to space exploration. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Dec. 23, 2020, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com writer Keith Speights discuss whether or not COVID-19 research has resulted in game-changing innovations for other diseases.

Corinne Cardina: Yeah. All right. Let's see if we can take a couple of Slido questions. So Raham asks, "What other innovations came out of vaccine research? For instance, I think there's a new way to solve for cancer. What are some of the companies that are trailblazers that used COVID research, to 10x their innovation?" That's a good question.

Keith Speights: That is a very good question, Raham, and let me put it this way: I don't think that some of this innovation necessarily resulted entirely from COVID development, because these companies were already developing technologies that were targeting indications like cancer, as you mentioned. But I do think that it will accelerate that development because, let me just use as a case in point, Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).

Moderna started out, I think they were founded around 2010, if I remember correctly, and they said, "Look, we're developing messenger RNA technology, and we think if it works with one disease it can work with a lot of diseases." Well, thanks to the efforts for developing the COVID-19 vaccine, we've seen that mRNA does work with one disease. So that's very promising for the use of the technology and vaccinating against other viral diseases and targeting cancer, and Moderna has several pipeline candidates in the works that do target cancer, and I think mRNA is a technology we're going to hear a lot more about with a lot of different diseases over the coming decade. A lot of its impetus, I think, will stem from this year with the COVID vaccines.

Corinne Cardina: Definitely, and it's in our lexicon now. mRNA vaccine, people know what that is. There's something to be said for healthcare companies and biotech companies really being in more of the popular awareness, if you will. I think that's a good sign as well.