mRNA Vaccine

January 12, 2021

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Anchor lead: What makes the mRNA vaccine so effective? Elizabeth Tracey reports

With a name like Operation Warp Speed, it’s no wonder people may be feeling that the vaccines currently being used against Sars-CoV2 have been rushed into distribution. Andrew Pekosz, a vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins, says these types of vaccines have been under development for more than two decades.

Pekosz: The mRNA vaccine platform is tailor-made for a disease like coronaviruses, where we’re expecting that antibody responses to the outer proteins are going to be able to drive the vast majority of protection from disease. That’s because these mRNA vaccines are designed to do just that; to take a protein and just express a lot of it on the surface of a cell. That then leads to a nice recognition of hey, this is a foreign item and your immune response kicks right in.  :29

Pekosz predicts that many other infectious diseases will soon have vaccines against them using this same technology, and that the need to keep such vaccines extremely cold will also be overcome, making them much easier to administer. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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