How often do you make "mistakes" during your project? Personally, I do very often, because my project is connected with the theater, and a lot of time is spent on rehearsing scenes and assembling props. This is a very complex and time-consuming process in which not everything works always out the first time. And when you rehearse, very often you make "mistakes". For various reasons - you do not know the text well, slept poorly, there is no mood. A lot of things can be. Therefore, you make "mistakes".
The story of the late recognition of 52-year-old Ingmar Hörr, the founder of CureVac, suggests that the creation of the vaccine is always a huge job, as well as failure. And sometimes, even if financial injections speed up the process, it still takes time to check the effectiveness of the antiviral drug. After twenty years of struggle for his idea of a vaccine based on ribonucleic acid (RNA), the researcher received a long-awaited assessment. And recently it became clear that these revolutionary antiviral drugs, inexpensive and quickly produced, are also applicable to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
It all began in 1999 in the laboratory of the Institute of Immunology Tübingen. Then the 30-year-old graduate student Hörr wanted to repeat the experiment carried out the day before, as it seemed to him, unsuccessful. The biochemist introduced a copy of the encoded genetic information under the skin of the mice — a piece of the DNA’s inherited substance molecule — in the hope that the protein will regenerate in the mouse cells. Then, according to the scientist’s logic, the immune system was supposed to recognize it and attack as an alien. In the event that it was a viral or cancerous protein, it could stimulate the immune system to fight viruses or cancer cells.
Hörr suspected a mistake in his experiment, nothing unusual. As expected, the scientist introduced mice not only DNA, but also - as control elements - substances that were not supposed to take action, such as water or RNA. However, to Ingmar's chagrin, the body's defenses reacted much more strongly to RNA than to DNA. "I thought that I mixed something up or incorrectly labeled substances," the biochemist recalls. That is why he decided to try again. However, the second time, RNA again provoked the most powerful immune response.
Then Ingmar began to understand what this “mistake” brings: vaccines or medicines will no longer need to be painstakingly produced in chemical plants or created in bacterial and cell cultures using biotechnological equipment. It is enough to take as the basis the RNA of the general formula (I): GlXmGn or (II): ClXmCn as an immunostimulant, administer such a vaccine to the patient - and the cells themselves will produce a life-saving vaccine in the body.
Over time, many appreciated the significance of discovery. And today, CureVac, which Ingmar Hörr founded one year after that experiment, is valued at three billion euros. At first, the company existed through the sale of RNA molecules to laboratories. Things went better when in 2005, one of the few biotechnological investors in Germany showed interest in the brainchild of Hörr: SAP founder Dietmar Hopp invested 23 million euros, subsequently several times increasing the capital of the biopharmaceutical company. In 2015, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested 50 million euros, and at the beginning of 2019, the CEPI International Anti-Epidemiological Coalition contributed 34 million euros.
Experts see the potential of RNA molecules as the basis for a vaccine against influenza viruses, yellow fever, rabies and Lassa fever. Because, unlike conventional vaccines from attenuated viruses or viral proteins, RNA molecules can be produced relatively cheaply in large quantities and transported without cooling.
If the experiments are successful, CureVac will launch development into production. It is important that technologically vaccines based on RNA molecules can be made much faster than conventional vaccines. So, for the production of seasonal anti-flu drugs in a volume sufficient for global supplies, it takes about six months. And with an RNA-based vaccine, according to Hörr, the production cycle will be six weeks. This shows that if you are confident in your truth, prove and believe in your rightness to the last. At work, at home, with friends, with a mentor, on a project, and in life. Therefore, be healthy. And I, in turn, will wait until the scientists get the vaccine.
Thus, we see that sometimes, our result exceeds expectations, and vice versa. It happens that you do not live up to expectations when you are very reckoning. For example, the girl Nastya was with me on the project. She came to our company, also a volunteer, to the position of vocalist and office worker. She thought when she went to the project that she would have major roles and solo parts. But, since she does not know German, she could not take the main roles, and really communicate. Because she also hardly knew English, and as a result she went back to Russia, working as a teacher of singing in a small town. It is very sad, but instructive. For some, the project may be a step forward, but for some, a terrible nightmare (I don’t know who these people are, but apparently it was a nightmare for Nastya). Therefore, do not be afraid, experiment, develop, and expand the horizons of your consciousness. But only in resolved ways in your country.