Source: BloombergBy Robert Langreth
They work in a different way from previous generations of vaccines. Instead of introducing the body to an inactivated or weakened version of a virus or a piece of it, they temporarily turn the body’s cells into tiny vaccine-making factories. They do this using synthesized versions of something called messenger RNA, a molecule that normally carries genetic coding from a cell’s DNA to its protein-making machinery. In this case, the mRNA instructs the body to make the spike protein that Sars-CoV-2 uses to enter cells. This, in turn, stimulates the body to make long-lasting antibodies to the virus. Messenger RNA vaccines are quicker to develop than traditional ones because their production doesn’t require growing viruses or viral proteins inside live cells. Also, mRNA’s modular nature makes designing new vaccines relatively straightforward. It took researchers just a few days in January 2020 to come up with the mRNA sequence used in Moderna’s Covid vaccine.