What are the benefits of using mRNA over plasmid or viral-based approaches for vaccine and immunotherapy development?

mRNA offers several advantages over traditional plasmid and viral-based approaches:

  1. mRNA boasts a superior safety profile. As a transient carrier of genetic information, it is metabolized naturally and poses little to no risk of genomic integration. Additionally, no inactivated viruses or pathogens are needed.
  2. mRNA serves the dual purpose of expressing the desired antigen as well as acting as an adjuvant.
  3. mRNA triggers a more diverse immune response. Because the mRNA encoded epitopes are intracellular, they are recognized by the immune system in an MHC class-independent manner.
  4. mRNA can more readily transfect difficult-to-transfect cell types because it functions in the cytoplasm. DNA vaccines can be limited by lack of access to the nucleus.
  5. mRNA manufacturing is easily scalable. Because mRNA transcription is carried out completely in vitro, to hundreds of millions of vaccine doses with a lead time of as little as a few weeks. This allows for rapid deployment of a new antigen during pandemics.
  6. mRNA is easily customizable. The ease of manufacturing makes it a viable option for personalized treatments.