How mRNA vaccines work | Summary and Q&A

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February 16, 2021
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Harvard University
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How mRNA vaccines work

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Summary

Researchers have found that the COVID-19 virus creates copies by attaching its spikes to a host cell. This vulnerability is targeted by vaccines, which contain messenger RNA that instructs cells to produce harmless spikes. These spikes enable the immune system to quickly detect a coronavirus infection, produce antibodies, and render the virus spikes useless, protecting our cells. mRNA vaccines have been extensively studied and are proven to be a safe and effective defense against COVID-19.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the COVID-19 virus begin the process of creating copies?

The COVID-19 virus starts reproducing by attaching its spikes to a host cell.

Q: What can the spikes on the COVID-19 virus be targeted for?

The spikes on the COVID-19 virus serve as a target for vaccines.

Q: How does a vaccine arm our immune system?

A vaccine arms our immune system by containing messenger RNA that can direct cells to produce specific proteins.

Q: What does the messenger RNA in the vaccine instruct our cells to produce?

The messenger RNA in the vaccine instructs our cells to produce COVID spikes, which are harmless.

Q: What information do the harmless COVID spikes give to our immune system?

The harmless COVID spikes provide our immune system with the information needed to quickly detect a coronavirus infection.

Q: What happens once COVID has entered the body?

Once COVID has entered the body, the new antibodies respond by attaching themselves to the spikes on the COVID virus.

Q: What is the function of the antibodies attaching to the spikes on the COVID virus?

The antibodies attaching to the spikes on the COVID virus render the spikes useless, protecting our cells and preventing the virus from reproducing.

Q: How have mRNA vaccines been studied?

mRNA vaccines have been rigorously studied and proven to be safe and effective in defending against COVID-19 infections.

Q: What is the main advantage of mRNA vaccines?

The main advantage of mRNA vaccines is their ability to provide a quick and specific immune response against COVID-19.

Q: Are mRNA vaccines a reliable defense against COVID-19?

Yes, mRNA vaccines are a reliable defense against COVID-19 as they have been extensively researched and shown to be safe and effective.

Takeaways

In summary, the COVID-19 virus reproduces by attaching its spikes to a host cell, making these spikes a vulnerable target for vaccines. With the help of messenger RNA, vaccines enable our immune system to quickly detect infections and produce antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to the spikes on the COVID virus, rendering them ineffective and protecting our cells from reproduction. mRNA vaccines have undergone thorough research and are proven to be a safe and effective defense against COVID-19 infections.

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