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Revolutionizing Vaccines : Nobel-Winning mRNA Breakthrough.



  Oct 09, 2023

mRNA Vaccines & COVID-19



What are mRNA Vaccines?

mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines use a piece of genetic code to instruct cells to make a specific protein, like the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus, to trigger an immune response.

How Do They Work?

The mRNA is wrapped in a lipid (fat) layer to protect it and help it enter cells. Once inside, the cell reads the mRNA and produces the spike protein, which then triggers the immune system to produce antibodies.

Why Are They Important?

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman won the Nobel Prize for making mRNA stable and usable in vaccines. Their work paved the way for COVID-19 vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.

What Were the Challenges?

mRNA is fragile and breaks down easily. It also initially caused inflammation. Karikó and Weissman solved these issues by wrapping the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles and modifying the mRNA structure.

How Did They Overcome Challenges?

Karikó and Weissman spent years researching and finally succeeded in stabilizing mRNA and reducing its inflammatory effects. Their work made it possible to use mRNA in vaccines effectively.

Storage Issues?

mRNA vaccines need to be stored at very low temperatures (-90°C to -50°C), making distribution challenging.

Future of mRNA Vaccines?

The technology is adaptable, making it easier to update vaccines for new variants or even new diseases.

Why Nobel Prize?

Their work overcame significant scientific hurdles and was crucial in the rapid development of effective COVID-19 vaccines.

By solving key challenges, Karikó and Weissman's work on mRNA has had a monumental impact on vaccine development, offering a flexible and effective platform for combating diseases like COVID-19.


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