Navigating the horizon of mRNA vaccines: Tracing their evolution, ensuring safety, and unveiling therapeutic potential

Posted Posted in Review Articles

Authors: Eunice Chieu Teng Yap, Sushela Devi Somanath, Saatheeyavaane Bhuvanendran, Ammu Kutty Radhakrishnan


Vaccines are vital tools in public health as they play critical roles in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. Vaccine technology has advanced from virus-infected lesions to live attenuated, inactivated or killed pathogens, toxoids, and subunits that consist of only specific pathogen parts needed to elicit an immune response. The progression of virus-like particle vaccines, recombinant viral-vectored vaccines, toxoids, protein or polysaccharide-based vaccines designed to conjugate with a distinct carrier protein to enhance immune reaction is a significant milestone. However, some infectious pathogens can avoid the adaptive immune system, while traditional methods may be unsuitable against non-infectious diseases like cancer. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines as an alternative to traditional vaccine approaches. mRNA vaccines contain mRNA that encodes the specific antigen and triggers a directed immune response. The two main forms of mRNA used in the study of mRNA vaccines are conventional non-amplifying mRNA and self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA). This article discusses the mRNA vaccine structure, delivery strategies, and protective functions, focusing on mRNA vaccines’ safety and therapeutic potential. Pre-clinical research has demonstrated the broad utility of mRNA vaccines in animal models. Human clinical trials, however, are still under validation. Hence, further studies will need to focus on adapting reliable results of preclinical trials to human applications. The evidence to date suggests that mRNA vaccines are promising next-generation vaccines and, in the future, clinical trials would transform basic research into mRNA therapeutics in medical practices.

Keywords: COVID-19, mRNA vaccine, safety, therapeutic potential, vaccination

Citations: IeJSME 2023 Vol 17(3): 13-25


User experience (UX) and usability in completing a MOOC on emergency medicine core content course (iEM/Lecturio): A case study

Posted Posted in Articles, Original Article

Authors: Fatin Aqilah Binti Ishak, Jia Shen Goh, Grace Devadason, Ke Wei Hiew, Dhaniya A/P Subramaniam, Yan Ren Hong, Sivalingam Nalliah


This study evaluates a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Emergency Medicine designed by iEM Education Project and Lecturio, using a validated checklist to assess its usability and user experience. The MOOC received a high score for cognitive connection (>4/5), in four components including interactivity, content and resources, media use, and instructional assessment. However, for learner guidance and support, the score was 2.75/5, indicating that the course did not provide clear instructions on how learners can get support or feedback from teachers when encountering problems in the course. For affective and functional connections, all components received a high overall mean score of more than 4/5. The course was impactful to the users who were in their early clinical years, as they were actively engaged and were motivated to complete the course. However, improvements should be made to better stimulate learning by improving learner feedback and providing space for collaborative learning online.

Evaluation of MOOC applying the heuristics of usability and user experience identifies specific components of online learning course apart from rating the severity of acceptance or violation of instructional design principles. The information derived from usability and user experience studies can improve design and delivery of online courses.

Keywords: Usability, user experience (UX), instructional technology, Emergency Medicine, e-Learning, MOOCs.

Citations: IeJSME 2023 Vol 17(3): 26-43