mRNA vaccines: a transformative technology with applications beyond COVID‐19

Isabella Overmars, George Au‐Yeung, Terence M Nolan and Andrew C Steer
Med J Aust 2022; 217 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51620
Published online: 4 July 2022

mRNA vaccines can be used for broader infectious diseases prevention and cancer therapy

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, decades in development as a therapy for cancer and for prevention of infectious diseases but not yet realising a licensed product,1 was rapidly implemented to accelerate the creation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) vaccines. Yet their spectacular success against SARS‐CoV‐2 provides just a glimpse of their full potential. This article describes how mRNA vaccines are made and how they work, and their potential for further infectious disease prevention and cancer therapy.

  • Isabella Overmars1
  • George Au‐Yeung2,3
  • Terence M Nolan3,4
  • Andrew C Steer1,3

  • 1 Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC



We thank Hilary Bruce for their help finalising the figure.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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