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Vector Center developing mRNA coronavirus vaccine — expert

Pre-clinical tests have not yet kicked off

NOVOSIBIRSK, September 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology is developing a mRNA coronavirus vaccine, Yelena Nechayeva, the center’s deputy director general, said on Wednesday.

"There are no mRNA vaccines in Russia, but now several organizations, including Vector, are working on that," she told TASS on the sidelines of the Openbio forum.

According to Nechayeva, the center is currently working on technologies and control methods for the vaccine development. Pre-clinical tests have not yet kicked off.

She noted that the development of mRNA vaccines is a promising area in the world. Such vaccines are expected to be safer and cheaper than the existing vaccines. Moreover, their production will take less time.

However, in her words, currently there are problems of supplies of raw materials. "We will substitute something, other things, for instance, ferments, will be produced domestically. Russian developers keep up with the time, with global science. I think Russian mRNA vaccines will be in high demand," she said.

Deputy director general of the Gamaleya Center, Denis Logunov, said earlier that his center is also developing a mRNA coronavirus vaccine. A special laboratory group has been set up at the center and experiment results demonstrate a high expression speed. According to Loginov, unlike vector vaccines, which can be used no often than once every six months, mRNA vaccines don’t have such limits.

MRNA vaccines use a molecule copy called messenger RNA (mRNA) to trigger an immune response. RNA-based vaccines code a pathogen protein. Along with RNA, such vaccines have lipid membranes that protect RNA from degrading and makes it possible for RNA to enter the cell. When a vaccine RNA enters the cell, the cell’s protein synthesis mechanisms produce RNA-coded protein, which acts as an antigen: it is detected by the immune system and teaches it to develop immunity.