From bench side to clinic: Potential and challenges of RNA vaccines and therapeutics in infectious diseases

The functional and structural versatility of Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) makes them ideal candidates for overcoming the limitations imposed by small molecule-based drugs.  Hence, RNA-based biopharmaceuticals such as messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNA mimics, anti-miRNA oligonucleotides (AMOs), aptamers, riboswitches, and CRISPR-Cas9 are emerging as vital tools for the treatment and prophylaxis of many infectious diseases. Some of the major challenges to overcome in the area of RNA-based therapeutics have been the instability of single-stranded RNAs, delivery to the diseased cell, and immunogenicity. However, recent advancements in the delivery systems of in vitro transcribed mRNA and chemical modifications for protection against nucleases and reducing the toxicity of RNA have facilitated the entry of several exogenous RNAs into clinical trials.  This review provides an overview of RNA-based vaccines and therapeutics, their production, delivery, current advancements, and future translational potential in treating infectious diseases.


Thisreview is a collaborative effort from Dr. Geetanjali Chawla’s and Dr. Ambadas B. Rode’s groupsand has been published in the special issue of Molecular Aspects of Medicineon the Biology of Infectious diseases.

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