VaccinesCoronavirus: A New Type of Vaccine Using RNA Could Help Defeat COVID-19

Published 27 March 2020

Scientists had already identified the polio virus in 1916, but it took 50 more years to develop a vaccine. That vaccine eradicated polio in the U.S. in less than a decade. Vaccines are one of the most effective modern disease-fighting tools.
Sanjay Mishra and Robert Carnahan write in The Conversation that as of this writing, the fast-spreading COVID-19 has already infected almost half a million worldwide, and has killed over 22,000 patients. There is an urgent need for a vaccine to prevent it from infecting and killing millions more. But traditional vaccine development takes, on average, 16 years.
So how can scientists quickly develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2?
As immunologistswe are trying to expedite development of vaccines and antibody therapeutics,” Mishra and Carnahan write, noting that the Pandemic Protection Platform Program run by the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense uses fast-track “sprints” to help us identify and deploy protective antibody treatments against viral outbreaks, such as SARS-CoV-2. Now other colleagues of ours are working on expediting a new type of vaccine for COVID-19.