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Montevideo, August 8th 2022 - 08:02 UTC

 

 

The RNA “messenger” would be the key to the functioning of the Pfizer vaccine

Wednesday, November 11th 2020 - 09:41 UTC
Full article
The Pfeizer-BioNTech vaccine calls for a novel technology, injecting the body with strands of genetic instructions called “messenger ribonucleic acid.” The Pfeizer-BioNTech vaccine calls for a novel technology, injecting the body with strands of genetic instructions called “messenger ribonucleic acid.”

Europe's leading stock exchanges traded steadily on Tuesday after Monday's euphoria when they were boosted by the announcement of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is 90% effective thanks to a new technology called 'Messenger Ribonucleic Acid' or messenger RNA.

What a vaccine does is induce an immune response against the protein of the virus responsible for the infection, called 'Protein S'. Antibodies stick to it and are able to inhibit the infection. Researchers are competing today to get that S-protein expressed in some way.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is based on novel technology to achieve this: injecting filaments of genetic instructions called 'messenger ribonucleic acid' into the body.

This “messenger RNA” will tell our cells what to make.

“What these RNA vaccines do is not use the S-protein, but the genetic material that will give rise to the expression of the protein. In this way, proteins do not have to be produced, but rather the genetic material is produced,” explained Adolfo García Sastre, professor of the department of microbiology at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

The messenger RNA induces the cells to make the “spicules” of the coronavirus, those tiny specks that are characteristic of SARS-CoV-2 and which are, in themselves, harmless. The immune system will detect them and then produce the antibodies.

These are the ones that will let us say, “stand guard” for a while. The question is for how long. The hope is that it will be for a long time.

Other vaccine projects are not keeping pace or, worse, do not seem to have the same luck, as is the case with the vaccine from the Chinese Sinovac laboratory.

This is a major setback for the Chinese pharmaceutical company's project, as its clinical trial in Brazil has been suspended following a serious incident. The Brazilian health authorities did not provide details but evoked potentially fatal side effects.

In this global competition, the World Health Organization had registered 47 vaccine candidates up to the beginning of November, of which a dozen are at the most advanced stage, phase 3, i.e. with large-scale testing on thousands of volunteers.

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