HASAG Asbestos Disease Support is dedicated to supporting people affected by Asbestos-related diseases in the South, South East, London and the Home Counties.
For most parts of the world, Covid-19 was unheard of until early 2020. We are now going into Summer of 2021 and, at the time of writing, 33,752,885 people in the UK have received their first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine[i]. Vaccines for Covid-19 were produced and approved in record time. One of the reasons for this is the huge effect the pandemic has had on the economy and the colossal amount of funding that the Covid-19 vaccine has received. It has created a drive for people to be immunised with even the likes of Elton John and Michael Caine being a part of the NHS advertisement for the COVID vaccine[ii].
The technology that is used in some Covid-19 vaccines has been described as a “New Approach to Vaccines” as instead of a weakened or inactivated germ being injected to trigger an immune response, some COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines which effectively gives instructions to our cells to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” which is found on the surface of the Covid-19 virus[iii]. What is really exciting is that future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases[iv].
Research on mRNA has actually been going on for some time and, before the COVID-19 pandemic, was described as a “new era in vaccinology”, especially for diseases such as cancers[v]. This is a very promising development for cancer treatment especially cancers such as mesothelioma which carry a terminal prognosis.
Vaccines for mesothelioma have been in trials and recently in the US, the FDA fast-tracked the development of ONCOS-102, an immunotherapy vaccine that targets malignant mesothelioma[vi]. If the vaccine is approved for use and continues to show positive results[vii] it could turn the tide in mesothelioma treatment.
The Covid-19 vaccine has shown what can be possible in such a short period of time and potentially, its technology and global profile could allow for more vaccinology research to take place to tackle diseases that, at present, are terminal or have a devastating impact on individuals and families.
By Hannah Wall
[v] Pardi, N., Hogan, M., Porter, F. et al. mRNA vaccines — a new era in vaccinology. Nat Rev Drug Discov 17, 261–279 (2018).