Since its inception in the early 1990s, the concept of gene vaccines, particularly DNA vaccines, has enticed researchers across the board due to its simple design, flexible modification, and overall inexpensive cost of manufacturing. However, the past three decades have proven to be less fruitful than anticipated as scientists have yet to tackle the issue of inducing a strong enough response in humans and non-human primates to protect against foreign pathogens, an issue that has since been coined as the “simian barrier.” This appears to be a human/primate barrier as protective vaccines have been produced for other mammals. Despite millions of dollars in research along with some of the world’s brightest minds chipping in to resolve this, there has yet to be any truly viable solution to overcoming this barrier. With current research illustrating effective applications of RNA vaccines in humans, these studies may be uncovering the solution to the largely unsolved simian barrier dilemma. If vaccines using RNA, the transcribed version of DNA, are effective in humans, the problem may be inefficient transcription of the DNA. This may be attributable to a DNA promoter that has insufficient activity in primates. Additionally, with DNA vaccines being even cheaper and easier to manufacture than RNA vaccines, along with having no required cold chain for distribution, this concept remains more promising than RNA vaccines that are further along in clinical trials.