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mRNA Vaccine Article

Last year the world was faced with an outbreak of a new

infectious disease known as COVID-19, an illness

caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

It quickly spread around the world and caused widespread

panic, death, and large-scale economic damage as countries

were forced to shut down businesses and trade in order to

stop the disease’s proliferation.

Working tirelessly, researchers labored to find some way

to at least slow down the virus and finally we are seeing

the fruits of such labor in the form of multiple vaccines.

However, these new vaccines take on a different form from

what has been used up until now.

In the past, vaccines have primarily been comprised of

a small part of disease or even a whole disease in order to

train the body how to fight it. The two most widely used

types of vaccines are live-attenuated vaccines and

inactivated vaccines; the former uses a weakened version of

the disease and creates the strongest as well as

longest-lasting immune response while the latter uses

a killed or otherwise inactive version of the disease,

producing slightly weaker but still potent results.

Of the remaining types of vaccines, both subunit vaccines

and toxoid vaccines rely on training the body

to fight against specific proteins or other molecules

created by the disease-causing agent.

These have all been utilized for decades and have proven

to be extremely effective, but with the recent coronavirus

outbreak there has been a new type of vaccine introduced

into the group, the mRNA vaccine.

To understand how the mRNA vaccine works,

one must first understand what mRNA does for the body.

Whenever a cell wants to accomplish a task it must first

create a protein to do that. In order to achieve this,

the cell takes the appropriate section of DNA

(deoxyribonucleic acid) and transcribes it into a much

smaller and less stable form known as mRNA

(messenger ribonucleic acid) that is capable of exiting

through small openings in the nucleus.

Once outside of the nucleus, the mRNA can be read by

special proteins called ribosomes that then translate

the “code” into a new protein. In this manner,

rather than introducing parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus

into the human body, the new mRNA vaccine introduces

the mRNA to make the viral proteins so that the body

can produce it on its own accord and subsequently

learn to fight it.



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