Identifying drug targets using genetic sequence information is a primary goal for many of our clients. However, with not all drugs or drug targets being small molecule-based, other therapeutic spaces benefit from sequencing data, a prime example being mRNA vaccines. Establishing the proof-of-concept of mRNA vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up mRNA vaccine technology as a promising candidate for a variety of applications, and requires a robust understanding of the encoded mRNA sequence and the cell types it interacts with.
What Makes mRNA Technology Unique?
mRNA vaccine technology is exciting due to its incredible versatility. Nearly any protein, whether a viral antigen or even a tumor antigen, can be encoded into mRNA and delivered to cells via lipid particles. Now that the technology exists, expanding its development for traditionally hard-to-target viruses will become commonplace as researchers test new combinations of proteins.
Ebola Vaccines: In Need of an Update
Ebola viruses are back in the news as a new strain has caused an outbreak in Uganda over the last month and a half. The strain belongs to the Sudan ebolavirus species, a species with no proven vaccines. Even the existing vaccines for the related species Zaire ebolavirus are limited in their usefulness in an outbreak situation, with one causing unpleasant side effects and the other requiring two doses eight weeks apart.
A strong, single-dose mRNA-based vaccine would be an ideal solution for a virus and outbreak like this. Although COVID-19 and Ebola are caused by very different viruses, Moderna is in the process of securing a deal to begin work on an Ebola mRNA vaccine. It remains to be seen if the mRNA vaccine approach will be successful for Ebola, but ebolaviruses mutate much slower than SARS-CoV2, which could allow for better longevity of the vaccines.
Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis: How We Can Help
Our clients are at the forefront of tackling these kinds of research questions with sophisticated bioinformatics approaches. However, transforming raw sequence data of any kind into actionable biological insights is no small feat. As experts across data types from cutting-edge sequencing platforms, we can help you tackle the challenging computational tasks of storing, analyzing, and interpreting genomic data. Bridge Informatics’ bioinformaticians are trained bench biologists, so they understand the biological questions driving your computational analysis. Click here to schedule a free introductory call with a member of our team.
Jane Cook, Biochemist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics
Jane Cook, the leading Content Writer for Bridge Informatics, has written over 100 articles on the latest topics and trends for the bioinformatics community. Jane’s broad and deep interdisciplinary molecular biology experience spans developing biochemistry assays to genomics. Prior to joining Bridge, Jane held research assistant roles in biochemistry research labs across a variety of therapeutic areas. While obtaining her B.A. in Biochemistry from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Jane also studied journalism at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. As a native Texan, she embraces any challenge that comes her way. Jane hails from Dallas but returns to Ireland any and every chance she gets. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email [email protected] or [email protected].