mRNA offers several advantages over traditional plasmid and viral-based approaches:
- 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.
- mRNA serves the dual purpose of expressing the desired antigen as well as acting as an adjuvant.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- mRNA is easily customizable. The ease of manufacturing makes it a viable option for personalized treatments.