Authors: Verbeke R, Lentacker I, Smedt SC, DeWitte H



In the early nineties, pioneering steps were taken in the use of mRNA as a therapeutic tool for vaccination. In the following decades, an improved understanding of the mRNA pharmacology, together with novel insights in immunology have positioned mRNA-based technologies as next-generation vaccines. This review outlines the history and current state-of-the-art in mRNA vaccination, while presenting an immunological view on mRNA vaccine development. As such, we highlight the challenges in vaccine design, testing and administration, key considerations in the design of mRNA-based vaccines and new opportunities that arise when packaging mRNA in nanoparticulate vaccines. Finally, we discuss the mRNA self-adjuvant effect as a critical, but dichotomous parameter that determines the safety, efficacy and strength of the evoked immune response.

Keywords: mRNA vaccine, mRNA