When the coronavirus pandemic was declared globally back in March, no one was sure what would happen or what life and the everyday world would look like moving forward. Ten months later, things we would never have dreamt of before the pandemic have become normal everyday things, and a lot of “normal” daily things are no longer possible or available due to the health concerns that arise. Throughout the world, the way people approach their health and their everyday lives have changed dramatically, and permanently, in a lot of ways. However, people are not the only thing that has been changed by the global health crisis. Healthcare is one of the clearest things that has been changed as well, with dramatic new practices and concerns with a pandemic that would likely not have occurred otherwise. Of course, not all of these are bad changes, and one of the most promising changes is the development of a new, more advanced type of vaccine that has recently come about in the fight against coronavirus.

The two most promising of these breakthrough vaccines are called mRNA vaccines, which “use synthetic messenger RNA, or mRNA, a molecule that tells cells how to build proteins. With it, you can trick cells into producing proteins usually found in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and stimulate the immune system — without making patients sick — to provide protection against infection.” This is promising in that it allows for patients to be vaccinated against particular diseases, in this case, coronavirus, and build up immunity to it without the actual disease entering their body. With this simulation of similar proteins, the body develops the same sort of immunization to the disease without a lot of the negative side effects of the actual disease.

While coronavirus is the most pressing use and concern when it comes to this breakthrough vaccine technology, it is not the only thing that this technology could be used for. “With significant refinement, mRNA vaccines could treat not just viral diseases like COVID-19, but inherited diseases, allergies or even cancer. “I think we’ll see some pretty incredible breakthroughs based on these technologies in the future,” says Larisa Labzin, an immunologist at the University of Queensland, Australia. And if another pandemic catches our immune systems off-guard in the future, mRNA vaccines have the potential to put a stop to things faster than ever before.”

This technology will not be immediately available to everyone, however. It will take time and quite a bit of work before they are ready to be used in a high quantity. However, once they are able to be used in that way, the first targets will be those most at risk from the disease, the elderly and immunocompromised. We can hopefully look forward to a future where these will be used for those who need them, and eventually, everyone.

There needs to be much more testing and development, but these new vaccines are looking promising in the realm of coronavirus itself, but also in the world of healthcare as a whole. This technology can be developed further to bring us out of this global health crisis, and to usher in a new age of vaccination and healthcare in the future. While no guarantees can be made for when this technology will be available worldwide, or even generally, the future is looking very promising with this on the horizon.

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