MRNA vaccines, Noubar Afeyan (Modern): “After those for Covid and malaria, others will arrive”
Noubar Afeyan, president of the Moderna biotechnology company, talks about the future of vaccines: “In our case we have developed a vaccine against Covid-19, and we look forward to seeing in the future when we can use our immune system to provide additional safety. We announced a little while ago that Moderna has decided to place a plant in Africa: we expect to produce about 500 million doses of vaccines, including the one against Covid, and to invest 500 million dollars to employ new technology. I am excited, and look forward to expanding our common struggle, ”he told Sky TG24.
Noubar Afeyan (Moderna) on the malaria vaccine
On the approval by the World Health Organization (WHO) of the widespread use of the first malaria vaccine in children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with high or moderate transmission of the disease, to be “really excited about this news, and I can’t wait for this vaccine to protect thousands of people around the world. Obviously there is a connection with our work, to have the power of a new vaccine and to tackle one of the greatest diseases ”.
“Startups are a very important tool for change. If you think of the Startups that work in science, in technology, they are the ones that make the things that were thought impossible, instead, possible. We did it by working, in a precise way, and to bring about important transformations we need to work decisively, advance progressively, and this is what we have specialized in, in flagship stores. These are the best vehicles to reach new goals, to collaborate and make a big difference ”.
Noubar Afeyan (Moderna): “We are working on influenza, Zica, HIV, and several other programs”
“It is difficult to predict the future, but in the short, and perhaps in the long term, this technology will have a major advantage. It is important to understand that with mRna vaccines we can transfer information to proteins, helping our cells. Once the mRna technology is used, different vaccines, medicines can be produced, and the more we do it the more we will learn, and the more we will be able to expand the set of diseases that we can defeat. We are working on influenza, Zica, HIV, and several other programs ”.
Noubar Afeyan (Modern): “Mrna vaccines also for cancer”
“Yes I agree. And I think it will be useful in two ways. First, we know that cancer, like a viral disease, changes all the time, and we have already shown that with mRna we can respond, we can produce specific activators. Second, we can use different proteins that can also fight this disease ”. So Noubar Afeyan, answering the question of whether he agrees with those who argue that RNA technology will also be important in defeating cancer.
“We are testing – he continued – both our approach with the vaccine and other experiments. So in the next couple of years, we may have some data that will guide us in figuring out which approach is best, or if we need to make changes. But of course we are committed to fighting cancer ”.
“We believe that the needs of this pandemic can also be addressed in other countries. Producing other doses is the best way to fight the pandemic. In the long term we will have discussions, and have discussions, with different countries to prepare for dedicated production of our mRna technology in different areas. This is about expanding our investments and generating capacity around the world, but I can’t comment on where exactly, ”added Noubar Afeyan, noting that“ I can’t tell the countries, but these discussions will continue. It will all be based on what the next path will be, and of course I am thrilled to speak with several countries including Italy ”.