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We now know how to Code for our Vaccines

by Alisha Bhagat, Aug 17
1 minute read

One of the benefits of the pandemic is the advances in synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) biotechnology. Multiple good COVID-19 vaccines were developed within one year – one of the fastest rates of vaccine creation.

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So what?

The rapid speed of development set a precedent for advances in vaccine creation as well as vaccine trials. The mRNA technology on which several vaccines are based, is a huge scientific breakthrough. We are now able to code for vaccines on a computer, develop a vaccine, and then essentially recode our own cells with a new set of instructions. mRNA vaccines remove a lot of the risk and imprecision associated with traditional vaccines.

Due to this breakthrough we may have vaccines for diseases like Malaria which have been notoriously hard to vaccinate against. Synthetic mRNA might also be able to effectively treat cancer. How might rapid vaccine development and deployment change the way we view disease? If vaccines become cheap and easy to create, how might health systems shift?

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by Alisha Bhagat Spotted 14 signals

Alisha Bhagat is a futurist whose work focuses on the creative use of futures tools to impact long term positive change, particularly around social justice and equality. For the past seven years, she has worked at Forum for the Future, a non-profit that helps organizations think systemically and sustainably about the future. Alisha brings a broad toolkit to her work and designs games, creates immersive experiences, and brings the future to life. Prior to joining Forum, Alisha was a foreign policy consultant for the US government and a fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Alisha holds an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BS in Anthropology and History from Carnegie Mellon University. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2005. When not thinking about the future, Alisha is an avid gamer and science fiction enthusiast. She is also president of the board of BitchMedia, a feminist media organization.

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