So that promising Moderna COVID-19 vaccine news from yesterday? There's actually a cool Canadian connection. Toronto-born stem cell biologist Derrick Rossi co-founded the company, and their work is based on his research. It involved... a glowing mouse.…
What's cool about what Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are doing is they're pioneering a new way of making vaccines. (And drugs in general!) They use mRNA, which takes instructions from DNA to make protein. Basically they're tricking your cells into making the proteins they want.
Back in 2010, Rossi had figured out how to do this in a petri dish. But he hadn't done it in a living thing yet. So he took the mRNA that had the instructions for making the protein that fireflies make. He injected it into a mouse. What happened? It glowed!
In the decade since, Moderna has been hard at work developing the technology, but didn't have any working drugs yet. That's not unusual, drugs take a long time. Enter COVID. The pressure was on.…
The process is new, but it's fast. The coronavirus genome was mapped in January. Moderna created a vaccine, tested it in animals. They were able to get approval for human testing in March. They've since tested tens of thousands of volunteers.…
To be clear, the results are promising, but they haven't been peer reviewed. Testing continues. Health Canada has the final decision on what is approved. But the guy who helped create this technology says the age of mRNA therapeutics is just beginning.…

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More from @alex_n_boyd

18 Nov
After a sneak peek at their results last week, Pfizer and BioNTech are now finished testing of their vaccine. Results say it's 95 per cent effective with no serious safety concerns. A few other notable things 👇…
The size of the trial: People have asked about the speed which which these vaccines are being made. It is fast! But mostly because there's tons of money/support, not because testing isn't happening. Pfizer so far has trialed 43,661 volunteers at 151 sites in 6 countries.
Seniors: your immune system ages as you do, and seniors often need specially made vaccines. Experts have worried these first doses might not work for those who need them most. But Pfizer says their data shows 94% efficacy in those over 65.…
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