From wild idea to COVID vaccine meet the mRNA pioneer who could win a Nobel

Science Friction


Renew and november. When the first cases started the pop up and wuhan china their description of the virus there description of how easily it was transmitted between families once. We heard that we knew that. This virus had the potential to be a bad actor at that moment in time we said. How are we going to get the sequence for this virus and we started calling our friends and china. We called our friends at the cdc trying to get the sequence of this virus the minute that was published. We started to make our vaccines back on. I think it was january twelfth. We started making the first aren a vaccine that day. It has all happened. Unfathomably fast has an at twelve months later and the pfizer and maduna vaccines have made their way through large clinical trials with good results into syringes and now already into millions of arms. But this quite a back story here. We thought that it would be useful in a pandemic. We thought it would be influenza pandemic but you back in two thousand and five. When we made the initial observation we knew that aren a had a great potential therapeutics. Who with his collaborator catala career. How is a good bit to win a nobel prize for the science driving. Mri vaccines. he's one of my guests on science fiction today. What's been lost in the fast pace race to develop covid nineteen vaccine. This past year is a hidden story of dogged. Pursuit of a nollie scientific idea over decades often in the face of skeptics and nice ideas we went through pharmaceuticals venture capitalists. All other people. it said. Hey we have a great new invention here. And they weren't interested. They said now aren as too hard to work with. We don't think it'll ever work and they just weren't interested now with a pandemic bang with suddenly counting on mri vaccines lock eyes and medina's to help save us. But before this pandemic this brand new technology of marigny vaccines had never been approved for use in humans before. It's incredible isn't it. The heddon even made it to the stage of large scale clinical trials in humans. I don't think anybody could have predicted. Just how effective these vaccines were. And i still get chills. When i remember the moment when that announcement was made a few months ago biologist onto fox is future fellow and associate professor at the university of western australia. It has proved the nice as wrong. I mean given that fifty percent effective is the baa that the world health organization would've liked to say as the minimum to be getting ninety. Five percent is just astounding really hardly any vaccines have that level of efficacy. Cullen pat and professor of pharmaceutical biology at monash pharmaceutical sciences. He's team is working on two different. Mri vaccines for covid. Nineteen in collaboration with the doughy institute in melbourne change from the point of view the future of emo toy syrupy and we haven't had a vaccine working against corona virus. Before i could understand the science. And i could see how theoretically it might work. But i just couldn't see how we could actually make enough to be the billions of doses needed for the world. And that's still looking doc- rod it's entirely contingent on just to pharmaceutical companies meeting. The world's entire supply demands including ours here in australia. Will you receive the pfizer vaccine together just before christmas. We did the vaccine driven by your discovery. Can you describe what that moment was like figuring. My family always yells at me. Because i'm not excited enough. And they're right for man who co owns the intellectual property licenses to medina and i dream osman humble kind of guy. We were incredibly excited. When we saw the results of the phase three trial that are vaccine. Worked and of a safe and had ninety. Five percent efficacy. I'm already moved on to the next thing the next back scene. The next gene therapy you. I'm incredibly excited. That this vaccine is working that it's gonna make a dent in this pandemic many think that there's a nobel prize in chemistry waiting in the wings for you and dr katie. Rico what do you make of that. So people tell the too modest. And i really don't do things for prizes or recognition or anything else.

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