COVID jab may also be MS cure
An "accidental" miracle cure for multiple sclerosis could emerge from the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scientists who have created a highly successful jab for coronavirus have discovered that the same vaccine mRNA also improved MS symptoms in animal trials and prevented disease progression in rodents showing early signs of MS.
The findings have "excited" a leading Australian MS researcher who hopes that future research will offer a similar protection in people with the debilitating disease.
There are over 25,600 people living with multiple sclerosis in Australia, including over 3970 in Queensland. It is a lifelong disease with no cure. It attacks the central nervous system - the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves and the progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS cannot be predicted.
German company BioNTech has delivered a COVID-19 vaccine that has been unrivalled in its efficacy and it is being rolled out in the US and the EU.
Their work into multiple sclerosis has been published in the medical journal Science.
"While this is an interesting study, it is early-stage research in the laboratory. In people with MS we don't know specifically which components of the brain and spinal cord are targeted by the immune system; so designing a specific "vaccine" has not been possible. This research is exciting because the "vaccine" was shown to dampen the immune response against additional components of the brain and spinal cord which are involved in auto-immune responses in MS,"
Dr Julia Morahan, Head of Research at MS Research Australia said.
"This is an encouraging early finding, and we hope that future research will investigate whether a similar protection could be induced in people with MS," she said.
BioNTech's CEO, Ugur Sahin, MD Ph.D has led new research and together with his team they hypothesized that an mRNA vaccine could work in a targeted fashion to help the immune system tolerate specific MS-related proteins without compromising normal immune function. Existing treatments suppress the immune system but can leave patients open to infections. More than 60 per cent of patients are using disease modifying therapy.
MS costs the Australian community $1.75bn a year in economic and personal costs.
Originally published as COVID jab may also be MS cure