3. Artificial Intelligence (AI):
When developing a new medicine, scientists must sort through thousands of potential compounds and treatments to find the few that could be viable. The process can be incredibly tedious. Scientists have just begun using artificial intelligence to sort and analyze potential approaches to vaccine development far faster than any human team could achieve through informed trial-and-error. As technology improves, AI has the potential to improve the speed at which potential candidates are reviewed.
4. mRNA vaccines:
Historically, vaccines work by introducing the body to a weakened or inactive pathogen, or part of a pathogen such as a piece of genetic code, so the body can learn to recognize the pathogen and build immunity. The immune system does this by learning to recognize antigens, which are parts of the pathogen—often proteins on the surface of a bacterium or virus—which indicate the organism is foreign. Rather than introduce viral material, mRNA vaccines work by providing the genetic instructions to produce an antigen. Once the body starts producing these antigens, the immune system can learn to recognize them and build immunity. mRNA vaccines have the potential to help tackle diseases that have been previously hard to vaccinate against, and they can be more easily manufactured than traditional vaccines.
5. DNA vaccines:
DNA vaccines operate similarly to mRNA vaccines in that they contain the genetic information required to produce a specific antigen. Additionally, these vaccines may contain other ingredients that help the DNA enter cells, direct the DNA to enter the correct cells, or boost the immune response. Also, like mRNA vaccines, they can be manufactured more easily than traditional vaccines.
Currently, there are no approved vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19, but multiple biopharmaceutical companies are moving very quickly taking different approaches to developing safe and effective vaccines, based on deep scientific expertise developed over the years from past experience with diseases like Ebola and SARS.
Learn more about the efforts underway to develop solutions to help diagnose, treat and prevent COVID-19.