Different Vaccine Is Making Headlines, This One for MS

BioNTech vaccine reduces severity of symptoms and delays progression, study suggests
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2021 2:41 PM CST
Multiple Sclerosis Vaccine Shows Big Promise
A nurse gives an injection of the Pfizer/Biontech coronavirus vaccine in Tuebingen, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.   (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

BioNTech has a second vaccine making headlines, but this one has nothing to do with COVID. Instead, it shows promise against multiple sclerosis. In a study at Science, researchers say the vaccine reduced the severity of symptoms in lab mice, delayed the disease's progression in mice with early signs of the disease, and even restored motor functions, reports MultipleSclerosisToday and FierceBiotech. At the latter site, Angus Liu explains that MS emerges when a person's immune system misfires and damages nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. That results in debilitating neurological and motor issues. "Existing treatments work by systemically suppressing the immune system," Liu says. "That can control MS, but it also leaves patients vulnerable to infections."

This new vaccine, however, does not suppress the immune system and thus avoids those serious potential side effects. The vaccine uses the same messenger RNA (mRNA) technique employed by the German company's successful coronavirus vaccine with Pfizer, and both websites dig into the particulars of the process. The researchers themselves sound optimistic, noting in the study that the "production of mRNA pharmaceuticals is fast and cost-efficient," and adding that the "tailoring the treatment for the disease-causing antigens of individual patients is conceivable." (Actress Selma Blair has been open in discussing her own struggles with the disease.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.