TechDigits

Tech news
Monday, Jan 30, 2023

NFT of mRNA vaccine research to go on sale

NFT of mRNA vaccine research to go on sale

A new NFT digital asset from the University of Pennsylvania showcases pivotal mRNA research that could lead to life-changing vaccines for COVID-19 and beyond.
Dr. Drew Weissman, a physician and immunologist known for his groundbreaking contributions to RNA biology, and the RNA biochemist Dr. Katalin Kariko developed the modified RNA technology that became a foundational component of BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines for COVID-19.

Now, 18 months later, “Vaccines for a New Era,” the University of Pennsylvania mRNA NFT — non-fungible token — will be released on July 15, a Christie’s press release said.

The digital asset includes a 3D model of the critical technologies that have enabled mRNA vaccines as well as research focused on the discovery and development of mRNA therapeutics for some of the world’s most deadly diseases.

The NFT also features a dynamic video that shows how mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines work, including how the mRNA vaccine enters the body’s cells and stimulates an immune response.

The animated digital art demonstrates mRNA encoding of the SAR-CoV-2 spike protein encapsulated inside lipid nanoparticles and administered as a vaccine, providing protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

The NFT also includes an explainer, image copies of Penn-owned mRNA patent documents, and an original letter from Dr. Weissman.

The proceeds from the sale of the NFT will be used to further important research at Penn.

While much of the attention focused on how quickly COVID-19 vaccines were developed in response to the pandemic, Dr. Weissman said that it resulted from a career’s worth of research and dedication by him and many other scientists worldwide.

“I laugh because it’s a 25-year overnight success,” Dr. Weissman said.

Initially, he and Dr. Kariko struggled to secure funding for their critical research.

“‘It took over 10 years to get people to recognize the potential of modified mRNA technology for therapeutic and vaccine development,” he said. “But Kati and I weren’t just sitting in a room hoping; we never gave up. The data looked very promising. The feeling that it would someday work and be a useful technology in creating new therapies kept us going.”

Dr. Kariko and Dr. Weissman together discovered how to modify mRNA to significantly reduce its inherent inflammatory activity.

Dr. Weissman’s lab later developed a delivery technique to package the mRNA in fat droplets known as lipid nanoparticles. These advances contributed to mRNA becoming safer, more effective and more practical for use in vaccines.

When the DNA sequence for the coronavirus was released on Jan. 10, 2020, vaccine developers immediately began to use Dr. Weissman and Dr. Kariko’s modified mRNA technology.

“When we saw that it was a coronavirus, we knew it was the spike protein that would be targeted in a vaccine,” Dr. Weissman said.

The first modified mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, which was initially found to prevent severe disease and death with exceptional efficacy, was an important milestone.

“As a physician, my career aim has always been to contribute to development of technologies and products that help people,” Dr. Weissman said. “So seeing these extremely positive results of the Phase 3 human trials for modified mRNA vaccines against SAR-CoV-2 was an incredible feeling,” he said.

“Art is really important in communicating scientific ideas to the public. It’s a way to introduce people to science, how it works, why it’s so exciting, and its future potential. The COVID-19 vaccine is just one of many potential future products that may benefit from the modified mRNA technology developed at Penn.”

Dr. Weissman and his colleagues are developing a variety of potential future vaccines and therapies, such as a pan-coronavirus vaccine to prevent future pandemics, a universal flu vaccine, as well as vaccines to prevent herpes and malaria, among others.

Dr. Weissman also highlighted the possibility of using mRNA in vaccines to prevent fatal allergies and for gene therapies to treat sickle cell anemia.

The sale of the University of Pennsylvania mRNA NFT: Vaccines for a New Era will run exclusively online from July 15-25.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
Close
0:00
0:00
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Solar + Powerwall ensures you never lose power, even if the grid goes down
This man paid for strangers' grocery and it moved them to tears
Meta introduces a new version of Mark Zuckerberg
Virtual Reality on billboards: BMW advertisement on Times Square
Apple CEO Tim Cook says coding should be taught as early as elementary school: 'It's the most important language you can learn'
Apple Executive Resigns After Viral TikTok Shows Him Making Crude Jokes
Huawei is not only better technology, but also protecting users better: Apple Warns Of Security Flaw For Iphones, Ipads And Macs
Mark Zuckerberg warns many teams will ‘shrink’ as Meta revenue drops
Elon Musk reportedly begged for forgiveness after his affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife
J.P. Morgan’s wealth management guru has some advice for recent college graduates on managing money and building wealth
Pentagon widens scope of UFO-hunting unit
Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez gives $1M to group focused on migrant kids at US-Mexico border
Hong Kong gets its first metaverse churches with avatars and virtual preachers
The ‘Dirty Quid Pro Quo’ Between Democrats and Big Tech
Elon Musk swore in March not to sell any Bitcoin, but Tesla cashed out 75% of its Bitcoin holdings amid the crypto winter just months later
Crypto winter continues at Gemini as another round of layoffs hits Winklevoss crypto exchange
Ex-CIA engineer Joshua Schulte convicted over massive data leak
EU to build new top-secret bunker
Elon Musk fathered twins with one of his executives last year
Apple launches Lockdown Mode to block spyware attacks on at-risk users
Australia floods worsen as thousands more Sydney residents evacuate
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Hacker claims to have obtained data on 1 billion Chinese citizens
British Army's Twitter and YouTube accounts restored after hack
Google will delete location history for visits to abortion clinics after overturning of Roe v. Wade
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Other Top Billionaires Lose $1.4 Trillion In Worst Half Ever
Philippines orders critical news site to shut down
Social media companies could be sued for addicting children to their digital-drug in California 
Airport chaos: European travel runs into pandemic cutbacks
The teen who tracks Elon Musk's jet agreed to stop monitoring Mark Cuban's flights on Twitter after the billionaire offered business advice
YouTube Shorts Claims 1.5 Billion Global Users As TikTok Rivalry Heats Up
The “Chinese (much better) Tesla”, Nio Stock, Jumps Again As Nio Eyes 'Product Supercycle'
The Crypto Bear Market Could Last Two Years, Top Investors Say
×