top of page

Vaccines for COVID-19: current status

mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 from BioNTech/ Pfizer and Moderna/NIAID) are safe and effective. Genetic instructions in the form of messenger RNA (mRNA) are packaged in submicroscopic fat "bubbles" called lipid nanoparticles that are taken up by host cells. The mRNA code directs synthesis of the virus's spike protein. Cells display the viral protein on their surface, which immune cells detect and respond to. The "bubbles" are delicate, hence the need for these vaccines to be stored at extremely low temperatures before use. Aside from the cold storage requirements, mRNA vaccines offer advantages over older types of vaccines in efficacy, speed of development, and production scalability and reliability. Though virus-free, the vaccines partially mimic natural virus infection, eliciting a robust immune response. Common reactions include transient symptoms such as fatigue, aches, and fevers. Risk is otherwise minimal since the mRNA acts outside the host cell nucleus and its DNA, and the cell destroys the mRNA after use.

17 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

Music and Mind

I just finished reading the new book (2024) "Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness" edited by Renée Fleming, the famous opera singer. At 558 pages, it is a bit long on anecdotal

1 Comment


Dear Ed, Thanks so much for this informatory illustration of the vaccine!

Like
bottom of page