Arguably the most important outcome of the Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna isn’t ending the pandemic. Instead, it’s what the innovative mRNA technology used to make the vaccine could do next.
Vaccines using mRNA have potential uses far beyond immunization—to treat cancer, for instance, or addiction, Lynda Stuart, deputy director for vaccines at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told Quartz. But as new applications for mRNA vaccines are explored, one seems more immediate: other infectious diseases.
A glimpse of what that might look like was provided today by Moderna, the 10-year-old Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that supplied the technology undergirding Pfizer’s vaccine. The company announced a program to develop vaccines for the seasonal flu, the Nipah virus (a virus that can cause various conditions, including encephalitis), and HIV.