LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed scientists to continue important treatment research that could make a difference in how other deadly diseases are treated.
“The exciting thing about the COVID mRNA vaccines isn’t that they are COVID vaccines, but they’re proof that the platform for mRNA vaccines works,” said Dr. Brian Labus, infectious disease epidemiologist.
Labus says the key will be time to see if the technology used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine could treat other diseases in the future.
“For cancer and another disease this is a brand-new area that we are exploring so it's hard to say when it’s going to be a reality,” Labus said.
Some are already working towards a solution.
Researchers from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute are working with companies like Moderna to get a grip on the mRNA’s role in developing COVID-19 vaccines.
They're looking at how that same technology could develop an HIV vaccine.
“We have a system to put instructions to your body as to how to make those proteins, and it's really doesn’t matter what the instructions are, and we can have a vaccine for a different virus,” Labus said.
The mRNA vaccines can be modified and molded, which makes them a possible solution to fighting other diseases.
The path to vaccine development is ongoing.
“The fact that we have this platform gets us pretty close to actually trying these things out in people,” Labus said.
The mRNA technology is not in the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.