Scientists develop world’s first mRNA vaccine for deadly bacteria
Scientists in Israel have developed an mRNA-based vaccine that they claim is 100 per cent effective against a type of lethal bacteria.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University said that the new technology could eventually enable rapid development of effective vaccines for bacterial diseases, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
mRNA vaccines have been used to fight Covid-19 but were not previously thought to be effective against bacteria.
Researchers tested the vaccine in animals infected with the lethal “yersinia pestis” bacterium, which causes the plague. The unvaccinated animals died within a week while those protected with the mRNA vaccine remained alive, the study said.
Just one dose was required to achieve full protection after just two weeks.
Dr Edo Kon, an academic at Tel Aviv University who led the study, said: “The great advantage of these vaccines, in addition to their effectiveness, is the ability to develop them very quickly: once the genetic sequence of the virus Covid-19 was published, it took only 63 days to begin the first clinical trial.
“However, until now scientists believed that mRNA vaccines against bacteria were biologically undoable. In our study we proved that it is in fact possible to develop 100 per cent effective mRNA vaccines for deadly bacteria.”
Scientists have previously warned that the excessive use of antibiotics has enabled bacteria to develop resistance to drugs.
Professor Dan Peer, Head of the Laboratory of Precision Nano-Medicine at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, said that developing a vaccine could provide an answer to the “real threat” of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
He added: “The ability to provide full protection with just one dose is crucial for protection against future outbreaks of fast-spreading bacterial pandemics.
“It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccine was developed so quickly because it relied on years of research on mRNA vaccines for similar viruses. If tomorrow we face some kind of bacterial pandemic, our study will provide a pathway for quickly developing safe and effective mRNA vaccines."
The study was published on Friday in the journal Science Advances.