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The recent high efficacy rates of the both Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines has sparked hope and also highlighted the potential success of mRNA vaccines — a first for the new platform that could change vaccinology.“They represent a really new way of delivering vaccine to people with something called mRNA technology, which is a more nimble way of developing vaccines,” said Sarah Fortune, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“So this really represents success of new vaccine platforms,” Fortune said during a Friday webcast.
Messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, is a molecule in cells that carries codes from DNA to make proteins. An mRNA vaccine encodes proteins of a virus, which is inserted into a cell to trigger an immune response and create antibodies.
There has never before been a successful mRNA vaccine, but they are easy to scale up, noninfectious and low-cost.
While the platform has benefits, a lot of unknowns remain about the new technology.
“An mRNA vaccine hasn’t been in a human population before, and so we don’t have a good sense even on what those long-term immune dynamics are,” said Fortune.
The duration …
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