Science

mRNA: The New Four-Letter Word Revolutionizing Healthcare

By Momo Vuyisich

mRNA

There is a new four-lettered word taking over everyone’s vocabulary this past year: mRNA. Messenger RNA (mRNA) has graced the front pages of all media outlets in the last year in the race to the development of mRNA-based vaccines against COVID-19. This technology is so revolutionary that it accelerated vaccine development by more than tenfold. While most of the world has been focused on DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) over the last several decades, mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) is emerging as a far more informative and useful molecule. 

While DNA contains our genes, they are only a static blueprint and can’t perform any action unless they are transcribed. When a gene is “turned on”, it is copied into an mRNA molecule that starts the process of converting the gene sequence into a protein that performs a function. Proteins help us digest food, protect us from pathogens, maintain our blood sugar, produce energy for our muscles, produce neurotransmitters, and so much more.  Most people have been misled with the belief that our genes are our destiny when in fact, a vast majority of all chronic diseases have no direct connection to our genetics.

Some important viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 (that causes COVID-19), Ebola, Influenza, Zika, and Hepatitis B do not contain any DNA at all; their genes are made up of purely RNA. And as we now know, the fastest COVID-19 vaccines to market (Moderna and Pfizer) use mRNA to produce viral proteins in our cells and train our immune system to defend us against the real virus.

Viome is no stranger to mRNA. In fact, we were founded 5 years ago on a technology platform built from a database of mRNAs found in the human body. This includes human and microbial mRNAs that include identifying and quantifying all viruses (including RNA viruses), bacteria, archaea, fungi, bacteriophages, and parasites. Viome’s at-home tests are the first and only mRNA-based health and wellness tests that are clinically licensed and available to consumers (Hatch et al., 2019; Toma et al., 2020) without a doctor’s prescription. This is because Viome is empowering every person to take control of their own health and wellness by understanding what’s happening inside their body. 

Viome harnesses the power of mRNA to analyze the human body as a human-microbial ecosystem in order to understand what happens inside of your body on a molecular level. They translate this knowledge into health insights partnered with food recommendations and supplements that can help modulate human and microbial mRNA levels, with the goal of maintaining a healthy balance of all gene expressions. One example of this is their ability to use machine-learning algorithms that can translate data from an individual’s sample into food and supplement recommendations that can help minimize a user’s blood sugar levels by recommending a user avoid foods that could elicit a high glycemic response. (Tily et al., 2020).

Viome believes that there is no such thing as universally healthy food or nutrients. By now, the research is pretty clear that one person’s food can be another person’s poison. Viome’s Health Intelligence Test scores (based on an mRNA analysis of microbial, human, and mitochondrial gene expressions) reveal unparalleled insights including Gut Microbiome Health, Cellular Health, Immune System Health, Stress Response Health, Mitochondrial Health, and even Biological Age. Viome uses AI to analyze these and 400+ other health subscores and pathway scores in order to recommend foods a user should avoid or eat more of, with the reason why. Additionally, Viome recommends every user the supplemental nutrition ingredients in the precise dosages that can improve these health scores. Viome built a massive robotics precision supplement manufacturing of the future to become the first and only company that can manufacture these tailor-made precision supplements on demand for every user.  This has been the holy grail of precision nutrition that has only become possible now with massive robotics, digital health insights, and powerful Artificial Intelligence. Imagine receiving all of your food extracts, vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics that your body needs without all of the extra stuff that could actually be harming you.  

It is a common misconception that the more supplements you take (or the more of a supplement you take), the healthier you are. We now have data that tells us that this isn’t true. For example, Niacin (Vitamin B3) can be good for some people but cause harm in others who may have high uric acid production.  Another popular supplement, NAD+, can be good for longevity for some people, but harm others who have high cellular senescence or high inflammatory activity. Viome’s Precision Supplements™ formulas can be adjusted with every test to ensure continued precision as your body changes.

What comes next?

Viome has performed in-depth analysis of mRNA molecules on the world’s largest collection of human clinical samples, including stool, blood, and saliva. This massive amount of data has enabled us to develop a good understanding of health and chronic diseases. They have built machine-learnt models that can not only detect the presence of an illness, but predict the onset of chronic conditions prior to any symptoms. Our research team has even developed a novel diagnostic test for early and treatable stages of oral cancer, by, you guessed it, quantifying human and microbial mRNA molecules in saliva (Banavar et al., 2020). This work culminated in a device trial application to the FDA in the USA, and CE Mark in the European Union.

Viome is also making headway in understanding more about what happens inside of our body as we age. We know this is a key area for many reasons, especially because age has become synonymous with the development of chronic diseases. Viome recently published a scientific paper that describes the best aging models based on human and microbial mRNAs (Gopu et al., 2020). 

Viome is reinventing the health care system–and every day Viome is getting one step closer toward their primary goal: eliminating chronic disease from our vocabulary. 



References:

Banavar, G., Ogundijo, O., Toma, R., Rajagopal, S., Lim, Y., Tang, K.D., Camacho, F., Torres, P., Gline, S., Parks, M., et al. (2020). The salivary metatranscriptome as an accurate diagnostic indicator of oral cancer.

Gopu, V., Cai, Y., Krishnan, S., Rajagopal, S., Camacho, F.R., Toma, R., Torres, P.J., Vuyisich, M., Perlina, A., Banavar, G., et al. (2020). An accurate aging clock developed from the largest dataset of microbial and human gene expression reveals molecular mechanisms of aging. Biorxiv 2020.09.17.301887.

Hatch, A., Horne, J., Toma, R., Twibell, B.L., Somerville, K.M., Pelle, B., Canfield, K.P., Genkin, M., Banavar, G., Perlina, A., et al. (2019). A Robust Metatranscriptomic Technology for Population-Scale Studies of Diet, Gut Microbiome, and Human Health. Int J Genomics 2019, 1718741.

Tily, H., Perlina, A., Patridge, E., Gline, S., Genkin, M., Gopu, V., Lindau, H., Sjue, A., Slavov, I., Klitgord, N., et al. (2020). Gut microbiome activity contributes to individual variation in glycemic response in adults. Biorxiv 641019.

Toma, R., Pelle, B., Duval, N., Parks, M.M., Gopu, V., Tily, H., Hatch, A., Perlina, A., Banavar, G., and Vuyisich, M. (2020). A clinically validated human capillary blood transcriptome test for global systems biology studies. Biorxiv 2020.05.22.110080.



The information on the Viome website is provided for informational purposes only and with the understanding that Viome is not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Viome provides this educational information to share the exciting developments being reported in the scientific literature about the human microbiome and your health. Viome products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.