“Warp Speed?”…Terribly Misleading

One of the objections we’ve heard to the COVID-19 vaccines is related to the timeline of its development. “Most vaccines take 7–10 years” touted the experts. No wonder people were concerned about a vaccine that didn’t exist 24 months ago…

But the facts speak otherwise.

While we did not have the specific genetic sequence required for the COVID-19 vaccine until recently, the the Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is far from ‘new” — it has, in fact, been in development for decades. The first research on mRNA as a therapeutic was published in the early 1990s and the capacity of the mRNA platform for rapid vaccine development was a key feature.

Here is a review article on mRNA vaccines from 2012

“mRNA is an intrinsically safe vector as it is a minimal and only transient carrier of information that does not interact with the genome. Because any protein can be expressed from mRNA without the need to adjust the production process, mRNA vaccines also offer maximum flexibility with respect to development. Taken together, mRNA presents a promising vector that may well become the basis of a game-changing vaccine technology platform”

The basic science efficacy and safety research was well established against a number of infection targets. Another review article from 2018: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrd.2017.243

“mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches because of their high potency, capacity for rapid development and potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration…Recent technological advances have now largely overcome these issues, and multiple mRNA vaccine platforms against infectious diseases and several types of cancer have demonstrated encouraging results in both animal models and humans”

The “Warp Speed” moniker was incredibly misleading; rather than position these vaccines as rapidly developed, we need to focus on the history of the technology and how the decades of work by dedicated individual scientists — not big Pharma — was now going to come to our aid.

Please learn the story of Dr.Katalin Kariko — who wrote her first mRNA-related grant in 1990 and was demoted by her University in 1995 when her funding ran out, but she kept going and is now largely responsible for the the safety and efficacy of the vaccines in use today. https://www.nytimes.com/.../coronavirus-mrna-kariko.html

Physician-leader; health strategist; Founded www.unioninaction.org Former Chief Medical Officer; public-health official; communications executive

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