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COVID-19 and mRNA Vaccines—First Large Test for a New Approach

Educational Objective
To understand how mRNA can be used to develop a COVID-19 vaccine
1 Credit CME

On January 10, Chinese researchers posted the novel coronavirus’ RNA sequence on a preprint server. Immediately, scientists who study genetic vaccines turned their efforts to the emerging pathogen that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). They knew that rapid response genetic platforms could shave precious weeks to months off development, crucial during a pandemic.

They were right. When the first US clinical trial for a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) began just 66 days later, volunteers received mRNA-1273, a messenger RNA (mRNA) candidate codeveloped by biotechnology company Moderna, Inc and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

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Article Information

Additional Reporting: Elena Guobyte.

Accompanying this article is the JAMA Medical News Summary, an audio review of news content appearing in this month’s issues of JAMA. To listen to this episode and more, visit the JAMA Medical News Podcast.

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