January 27, 2021
Thanks to feinmann!
“The best news about the mRNA shots from BioNTech and Moderna is that the same technique could also defeat many other diseases.
The most promising Covid vaccines use nucleic acids called messenger RNA, or mRNA. One vaccine comes from the German firm BioNTech SE and its U.S. partner Pfizer Inc. The other is from the U.S. company Moderna Inc. (its original spelling was ModeRNA, its ticker is MRNA). Another is on the way from CureVac NV, also based in Germany.
Ordinary vaccines tend to be inactivated or weakened viruses which, when injected into the body, stimulate an immune response that can later protect against the live pathogen. But the process of making such vaccines requires various chemicals and cell cultures. This takes time and provides opportunities for contamination.
mRNA vaccines don’t have these problems. They instruct the body itself to make the offending proteins — in this case, the ones that wrap around the viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2. The immune system then homes in on these antigens, practicing for the day when the same proteins show up with the coronavirus attached.
Therein lies mRNA’s bigger promise: It can tell our cells to make whatever protein we want. That includes the antigens of many other diseases besides Covid-19.”