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      mRNA-based therapeutics: powerful and versatile tools to combat diseases

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          Abstract

          The therapeutic use of messenger RNA (mRNA) has fueled great hope to combat a wide range of incurable diseases. Recent rapid advances in biotechnology and molecular medicine have enabled the production of almost any functional protein/peptide in the human body by introducing mRNA as a vaccine or therapeutic agent. This represents a rising precision medicine field with great promise for preventing and treating many intractable or genetic diseases. In addition, in vitro transcribed mRNA has achieved programmed production, which is more effective, faster in design and production, as well as more flexible and cost-effective than conventional approaches that may offer. Based on these extraordinary advantages, mRNA vaccines have the characteristics of the swiftest response to large-scale outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the currently devastating pandemic COVID-19. It has always been the scientists’ desire to improve the stability, immunogenicity, translation efficiency, and delivery system to achieve efficient and safe delivery of mRNA. Excitingly, these scientific dreams have gradually been realized with the rapid, amazing achievements of molecular biology, RNA technology, vaccinology, and nanotechnology. In this review, we comprehensively describe mRNA-based therapeutics, including their principles, manufacture, application, effects, and shortcomings. We also highlight the importance of mRNA optimization and delivery systems in successful mRNA therapeutics and discuss the key challenges and opportunities in developing these tools into powerful and versatile tools to combat many genetic, infectious, cancer, and other refractory diseases.

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          Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine

          Abstract Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the resulting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have afflicted tens of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. Safe and effective vaccines are needed urgently. Methods In an ongoing multinational, placebo-controlled, observer-blinded, pivotal efficacy trial, we randomly assigned persons 16 years of age or older in a 1:1 ratio to receive two doses, 21 days apart, of either placebo or the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate (30 μg per dose). BNT162b2 is a lipid nanoparticle–formulated, nucleoside-modified RNA vaccine that encodes a prefusion stabilized, membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein. The primary end points were efficacy of the vaccine against laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 and safety. Results A total of 43,548 participants underwent randomization, of whom 43,448 received injections: 21,720 with BNT162b2 and 21,728 with placebo. There were 8 cases of Covid-19 with onset at least 7 days after the second dose among participants assigned to receive BNT162b2 and 162 cases among those assigned to placebo; BNT162b2 was 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 (95% credible interval, 90.3 to 97.6). Similar vaccine efficacy (generally 90 to 100%) was observed across subgroups defined by age, sex, race, ethnicity, baseline body-mass index, and the presence of coexisting conditions. Among 10 cases of severe Covid-19 with onset after the first dose, 9 occurred in placebo recipients and 1 in a BNT162b2 recipient. The safety profile of BNT162b2 was characterized by short-term, mild-to-moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was low and was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups. Conclusions A two-dose regimen of BNT162b2 conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 in persons 16 years of age or older. Safety over a median of 2 months was similar to that of other viral vaccines. (Funded by BioNTech and Pfizer; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04368728.)
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            A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China

            Emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Zika virus disease, present a major threat to public health 1–3 . Despite intense research efforts, how, when and where new diseases appear are still a source of considerable uncertainty. A severe respiratory disease was recently reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. As of 25 January 2020, at least 1,975 cases had been reported since the first patient was hospitalized on 12 December 2019. Epidemiological investigations have suggested that the outbreak was associated with a seafood market in Wuhan. Here we study a single patient who was a worker at the market and who was admitted to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on 26 December 2019 while experiencing a severe respiratory syndrome that included fever, dizziness and a cough. Metagenomic RNA sequencing 4 of a sample of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the patient identified a new RNA virus strain from the family Coronaviridae, which is designated here ‘WH-Human 1’ coronavirus (and has also been referred to as ‘2019-nCoV’). Phylogenetic analysis of the complete viral genome (29,903 nucleotides) revealed that the virus was most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) that had previously been found in bats in China 5 . This outbreak highlights the ongoing ability of viral spill-over from animals to cause severe disease in humans.
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              The blockade of immune checkpoints in cancer immunotherapy.

              Among the most promising approaches to activating therapeutic antitumour immunity is the blockade of immune checkpoints. Immune checkpoints refer to a plethora of inhibitory pathways hardwired into the immune system that are crucial for maintaining self-tolerance and modulating the duration and amplitude of physiological immune responses in peripheral tissues in order to minimize collateral tissue damage. It is now clear that tumours co-opt certain immune-checkpoint pathways as a major mechanism of immune resistance, particularly against T cells that are specific for tumour antigens. Because many of the immune checkpoints are initiated by ligand-receptor interactions, they can be readily blocked by antibodies or modulated by recombinant forms of ligands or receptors. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4) antibodies were the first of this class of immunotherapeutics to achieve US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Preliminary clinical findings with blockers of additional immune-checkpoint proteins, such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1), indicate broad and diverse opportunities to enhance antitumour immunity with the potential to produce durable clinical responses.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                songxr@scu.edu.cn
                Journal
                Signal Transduct Target Ther
                Signal Transduct Target Ther
                Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2095-9907
                2059-3635
                21 May 2022
                21 May 2022
                2022
                : 7
                : 166
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.13291.38, ISNI 0000 0001 0807 1581, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Frontiers Science Center for Disease-related Molecular Network, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, , Sichuan University, ; Chengdu, China
                [2 ]GRID grid.266862.e, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8163, Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, , University of North Dakota, ; Grand Forks, ND 58203 USA
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1205-982X
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2853-2696
                Article
                1007
                10.1038/s41392-022-01007-w
                9123296
                35597779
                c9e2acdb-3379-4f11-a6be-85724590c98f
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 24 January 2022
                : 4 April 2022
                : 19 April 2022
                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100004829, Department of Science and Technology of Sichuan Province (Sichuan Provincial Department of Science and Technology);
                Award ID: 2021YFSY008
                Award ID: 2020YFH0065
                Award ID: 2020YJ0238
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Chengdu Key S&T Innovation Projects (Grant reference number (2019-YF08-00139-GX)
                Categories
                Review Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2022

                molecular biology,cell biology
                molecular biology, cell biology

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