In the media: COVID-19 vaccine research ⁠— How this Canadian’s glowing mouse may lead to a vaccine

November 17, 2020 by A&S News

The development of a promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna might not have been possible without novel research by University of Toronto alumnus and stem cell biologist Derrick Rossi, the Toronto Star reports. 

Rossi, who earned his bachelor of science and master of science from the Faculty of Arts & Science and co-founded Moderna, helped pioneer the use of modified messenger RNA (or mRNA) to produce selected proteins. The Star reports Rossi’s work is central to Moderna’s experimental vaccine, which the company says has proven to be 94.5 per cent effective based on preliminary data. 

A former Harvard University professor, Rossi is no longer with Moderna but says he is proud to have played a role in the vaccine’s development. 

“I have always believed that modified mRNA therapeutics was going to actually positively impact human health for various disease settings,” he told the Star. “I would not have guessed that the pandemic would be the first application.” 

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