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CureVac COVID vaccine let-down spotlights mRNA design challenges

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CureVac COVID vaccine let-down spotlights mRNA design challenges

Photo caption: A trial volunteer in Belgium receives a dose of CureVac’s vaccine. Credit: Yves Herman / Reuters / Alamy. Article by Elie DolginNature – June 18, 2021.

Scientists are searching for explanations to disappointing final-stage trial results. These insights could help guide the future development of mRNA vaccines.

Two vaccines made using messenger RNA (mRNA) have proved spectacularly successful at warding off COVID-19, but a third mRNA-based candidate has flopped in a final-stage trial, according to an initial report released this week. Researchers are now asking why — and some think that choices about the type of mRNA chemistry used might be to blame. Any insight could help to guide the future design of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 or other diseases.

The company behind the beleaguered trial, CureVac, based in Tübingen, Germany, announced preliminary data on 16 June from a 40,000-person trial, which showed that its two-dose vaccine was just 47% effective at preventing disease. […]

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