Recently, nucleic acid-based RNA and DNA vaccines have represented a better solution to avoid infectious diseases than “traditional” live and non-live vaccines. Synthetic RNA and DNA molecules allow scalable, rapid, and cell-free production of vaccines in response to an emerging disease such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The development process begins with laboratory transcription of sequences encoding antigens, which are then formulated for delivery. The various potent of RNA over live and inactivated viruses are proven by advances in delivery approaches. These vaccines contain no infectious elements nor the risk of stable integration with the host cell genome compared to conventional vaccines. Conventional mRNA-based vaccines transfer genes of interest (GOI) of attenuated mRNA viruses to individual host cells. Synthetic mRNA in liposomes forms a modern, refined sample, resulting in a safer version of live attenuated RNA viruses. Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a replicating version of mRNA-based vaccines that encode both (GOI) and viral replication machinery. saRNA is required at lower doses than conventional mRNA, which may improve immunization. Here we provide an overview of current mRNA vaccine approaches, summarize highlight challenges and recent successes, and offer perspectives on the future of mRNA vaccines.
Part of the book: Vaccine Development