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Opinion
Andreas Kluth

mRNA Vaccines Could Vanquish Covid Today, Cancer Tomorrow

The best news about the mRNA shots from BioNTech and Moderna is that the same technique could also defeat many other diseases.

Fighting viruses is just the start.

Fighting viruses is just the start.

Photographer: Chris Jackson/AFP via Getty Images

The night is darkest just before dawn, they say. Dark it certainly is right now. The more contagious variants of SARS-CoV-2 coming out of the U.K. and South Africa will make the pandemic worse before mass vaccination can make it better.

But take another look at some of these new vaccines. And then contemplate the dawn to come — not just its first rays in the coming months but also the bright light of future years and decades. It looks increasingly plausible that the same weapons we’ll use to defeat Covid-19 can also vanquish even grimmer reapers — including cancer, which kills almost 10 million people a year.