Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is often at the forefront of science and engineering innovation, and this time researchers have created a programmable vaccine. Dr. Chahal and Dr. Khan, a virologist and chemical engineer respectively, have created a programmable RNA vaccine that could transform the realm of vaccines. Inside the vaccine is RNA packaged into nano-particles that "enter the cell, mimic viral infections, raise cellular alarms and use the instructions contained within the RNA to activate the cell's defenses."
Chahal and Khan have already successfully immunized mice to diseases like Ebola and H1N1 influenza, as well as a parasite similar to the one that causes malaria. They are planning to target the Zika virus and Lyme disease next during testing. Since the vaccine is completely synthetic regardless of the disease the RNA will be programmed to immunize against, the production of the vaccine will be identical every time. The goal is for the vaccine to be utilized during outbreaks since it is quickly produced and programmable.
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