Tesla RNA Bioreactor – Tesla Vaccine and CureVac Covid 19
- Tesla and CureVac have collaborated on a patent for an RNA bioreactor.
- Although there are no human vaccines made with RNA, technology could break through on COVID-19 (coronavirus).
- The bioreactor works by combining chemical agents in an egg-shaped magnetic mixer.
Tesla took on the manufacturing role of a biotech startup with a revolutionary new RNA reactor concept. A tipster recently alerted Electrek at this one year old patent application, which lists both Tesla and German startup CureVac.
CureVac has made the news recently due to an ill-informed factoid that it was bought by President Donald Trump. This is partly because CureVac is work on the basics of COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine. Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) indicated that it granted an 84 million dollar loan to CureVac to accelerate this vaccine development process.
The RNA bioreactor patent application covers a device that aims to stimulate and streamline the production of RNA for research and, CureVac hopes, eventually a consumer vaccine for COVID-19. Typically, researchers make RNA (ribonucleic acid) from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). In school, you may have learned the colloquialism that DNA is made up of two strands while RNA is only one. DNA can be turned into RNA for research by using single-celled organisms to transcribe DNA into RNA.
The design of the reactor uses magnets to hold the particles in place, including the DNA to be processed into RNA. The same magnetic design also stirs the “mixture” and facilitates the reaction that produces RNA. The overall design is a really interesting combination of mechanical engineering and biochemistry. Its base of electromagnets allows fine control of the magnetism to ensure the most efficient mixing process. The app also allows versions with permanent magnets or the special combination that forms a Helmholtz coil.
CureVac started in 2000 with a mission to improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases. So while corporate goals have always been vital and timely, the particular urgency of a pandemic virus has changed the way it operates. The bioreactor proposed with Tesla is an automated version of the same types of processes that scientists have used for years, but in an environment with less margin for error and less micro-waste from the transcription process. The patent also includes improvements to all support processes around the bioreactor itself.
The EIB loan and the Tesla partnership support the same mission: to implement CureVac’s plan to rapidly accelerate RNA production. Making vaccines with RNA offers advantages such as much faster development overall, but there are no RNA vaccines approved by humans yet. This approach involves chemically teaching your body how to make the proteins that will then generate the antibody response.
“It’s a bit like making plans for a Cessna, throwing them through the ventilation duct of a Ford factory and hoping someone inside finds them and the factory starts to come out of planes instead of vans, ”Graeme Wood wrote in Atlantic in March.
The bioreactor is probably a key element of the “industrial scale production site” CureVac CFO Pierre Kemula said is the main objective EIB financing. Time will tell if this investment and this technology will finally make it possible to create a human vaccine using RNA technology.
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