mRNA Vaccines: A Race Against COVID-19

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mRNA Vaccines Do Not Contain Viruses

Health Editor’s Note: This article is made up of information published on July 16, 2020 and updated November 16, 2020. A great deal has happened during this time. Drug maker Pfizer and bioNTech announced their vaccine had 90% efficacy and Moderna announced its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective with both companies using about 30,000 test subjects in their research. 

The results of these ongoing studies are very promising and give great hope that we will have a vaccine that will help to deliver a huge blow to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Moderna cannot seek emergency use authorization from the FDA until November 25, Pfizer/bioNTech has already sought approval on November 20. Both drug companies are using messenger RNA (mRNA) which will be the first time mRNA vaccines have been made. An mRNA vaccine contains a synthetic version of RNA which viruses use to make proteins. mRNA vaccines do not have enough genetic material to produce viral proteins, but will use enough to trick our immune systems to think that a virus is in the body so the body will move into action to make antibodies against the virus. 

Using mRNA is not alien biotechnology. mRNA has always given DNA information to use to make proteins and these proteins control our cells and body tissues. Well, long before we even knew what DNA and RNA were, this process was essential for life and has been around as long as there has been living beings.  Viruses do not have the cellular capability to make more of them selves (replicate) so they must take over healthy cells to use for this purpose. This is what causes people to be ill. Coronavirus is very good at hijacking cells and thus quickly spreading from person to person.

While traditional vaccines (for viral infections such as measles) use small amounts of a virus to activate the immune system mRNA cannot be used to make an infectious virus. I repeat, mRNA vaccines do not contain a virus. 

We need a vaccine for COVID-19 immediately and of course have needed it every since the first COVID-19 virus was recognized. The traditional way to make vaccines takes years, but we do not have years. We have over a quarter of a million people dead as this virus surges and creates almost 200,000 new cases  per day and now over 2,000 deaths per day in the U.S. alone.

The use of mRNA is not new, but is new to making vaccines. mRNA was discovered in 1961 but RNA therapies using mRNA did not start to be developed until the 1990s. RNA therapies that use mRNA have been used to develop personalized cancer treatments and therapies for other diseases.

 

Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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