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Stanford Scientists Reverse Engineer Moderna Vaccine, Post Code On Github

Published by Slashdot on Tue, 30 Mar 2021


An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Stanford scientists saved drops of the COVID-19 vaccine destined for the garbage can, reverse engineered them, and have posted the mRNA sequence that powers the vaccine on GitHub for all to see. The GitHub post is four pages long. The first two are an explanation by the team of scientists about the work, the second two pages are the entire mRNA sequence for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. "RNA vaccines have become a key tool in moving forward through the challenges raised both in the current pandemic and in numerous other public health and medical challenges," the scientists said on GitHub. "Despite their ubiquity, sequences are not always available for such RNA. Standard methods facilitate such sequencing." According to Stanford scientists Andrew Fire and Massa Shoura, this isn't technically "reverse-engineering" a vaccine. "We didn't reverse engineer the vaccine. We posted the putative sequence of two synthetic RNA molecules that have become sufficiently prevalent in the general environment of medicine and human biology in 2021," they told Motherboard in an email. "As the vaccine has been rolling out, these sequences have begun to show up in many different investigational and diagnostic studies. Knowing these sequences and having the ability to differentiate them from other RNAs in analyzing future biomedical data sets is of great utility." [...] According to Shoura and Fire, the FDA cleared the Stanford project's decision to share the sequence with the community. "We did contact Moderna a couple of weeks ago to indicate that we were hoping to include the sequence in a publication and asking if there was anything that we should reference with respect to this... no response or objection from them, so we assume that everyone is busy doing important work."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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