they replicate themselves with saRNA technology

The news of the approval of a new anti Covid vaccine based on RNA may not seem particularly important, but we are facing a real turning point in the fight against coronavirus. Japanese authorities have given the green light to the first preparation that contains genetic information capable of replicating inside cells. The first vaccine a saRNA (self amplifying, self-replicating) could pave the way for a new generation of drugs capable of combating not only viral infections, but also cancer. Furthermore, given the effectiveness at low doses, it could be an even safer alternative to the now classic mRNA vaccines, with fewer side effects for those who undergo the injection.

How the new self-amplifying saRNA vaccines work

The new vaccine is called saRNA ARCT-154 and was developed by Californian Arcturus Therapeutics and Australian CSL, two biotechnology companies that could revolutionize the sector and the world of science. For more than 20 years, researchers have been trying to make drugs a reality Self-replicating RNA. Today this important milestone has been achieved with excellent results emerging in the first clinical tests.

If all goes well, the classic mRNA vaccines will soon be replaced by the new, particularly versatile technology. Current preparations against Sars-Cov-2, responsible for Covid, contain the genetic instructions that allow cells to create viral antigens and stimulate the immune system’s response.

saRNA technology, on the other hand, adds a further step to the process, allowing the cells to manufacture the same vaccine internally, creating a sort of biological printer. In the case of ARCT-54 it serves to replicate the Spike protein found on the surface of the virus, interacting in a totally different way with our body and transmitting up to three times more genetic information.

In addition to the viral genetic sequence, in fact, a second gene is introduced into the body, which codes for an RNA polymerase, an enzyme capable of amplifying the RNA molecules themselves. Two signal sequences trigger replication, resulting in amplifying which allows us to produce many more antigens and for much longer.

The mRNA introduced by the old generation of vaccines, being particularly unstable, remained in the body for a very short time. In this way the cells will not only receive the instructions to replicate the RNA, but will be able to reprint them for a long time.

As already mentioned, in fact, the preparation takes effect with really low dosages, up to a tenth compared to the Covid vaccines currently in circulation, and without or with few boosters. This translates not only into a different safety profile, but also into an incredible reduction in costs. It is therefore conceivable that the side effects they will be less frequent and serious, and production plants will be able to respond to possible future emergencies with greater speed and less expense.

Because saRNA vaccines have never been approved before

But if this technology is so convenient, why was it so difficult to invent it? And why hasn’t it been approved worldwide yet? A wrong dosage of self-replicating RNA could be totally ineffective, given that the immune system, if excessively stimulated, can block the copying process itself. It took 20 years to find the right balance and the many failures discouraged investments in this direction.

However, the Covid pandemic has accelerated scientific research in this field and today ARCT-154 has been approved by the authorities of Japan. The next step will be to get the green light too Europe: it could arrive as early as the beginning of 2024.

More than a dozen saRNA vaccine candidates are in clinical testing. It’s not just Covid prevention on the table: the various preparations are designed for Fire of saint AnthonyL’influence and even modern cancer therapies. This particular technology could also be applied to common drugs in the future, making the body a real protein factory with healing functions. In the scientific world today we talk about RNAscimentoand it is no coincidence: we are facing an epochal turning point for the medicine of the future.