mRNA: A Complete Beginner Guide

  • 16th Feb'21
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This isn’t the first time humankind’s existence was threatened and won’t be the last.

With the entire world getting stranded due to the covid-19 pandemic, several medical and scientific research institutes and companies around the world have been constantly working to develop a vaccine for it. This inadvertently has led to a rapid rise in the success and development of the mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines alongside the vast growth potential of the mRNA therapies.

Here you might have an instant question on the lines of, Why mRNA vaccine? What exactly is mRNA? What does it stand for? And how can we use it?

Honestly, I was hoping you to have these questions run through your mind. So, allow me to start with what is mRNA? And eventually, you will have complete clarification on the rest of the questions mentioned above.


What is mRNA?

mRNA stands for Messenger Ribonucleic Acid. It is a part of molecular biology where a single-stranded molecule of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene. This then is further tracked by the ribosome in the process of protein synthesis. This process is known as transcription, in molecular biology, in which a gene is copy-pasted from the DNA into mRNA.


Why mRNA?

mRNA, in simple words, has gone viral. Why? It is because the vaccine requires the cells to use mRNA to translate DNA into proteins that take part in almost every bodily function. Several existing therapies are used in the manufacture of proteins to restore the deficient proteins to ensure that our human body is ready to fight against this infection or even cancer.




How Does an mRNA Vaccine Work?

Following is the step by step instruction on how the mRNA vaccine works:

  • The mRNA vaccine is injected into the upper arms. Undoubtedly, the went injected you will pain from its needle similar to any other injection. Once injected, the mRNA will instruct your body cells on how to build a part of the protein that the Coronavirus has.
  • Once the mRNA reaches the muscle cells following the given instructions, it builds a spike protein that is present on the coronavirus (SAR-COV-2)
  • After a while, some of the spike proteins could be seen in some partly or wholly on the surface of these cells.
  • As soon as your immune system figures out that formed proteins are different, it will simultaneously start mass-producing antibodies as well as training other immune cells to recognize them in the future quickly.
  • And the next time, your body meets with the SARS-COV-2, your body will instantly have some antibodies immediately ready to fight against it, thus giving you better protection against the coronavirus. This is because by then your immune cells will be much primed to safeguard you better against the coronavirus.

Note that, as per clinical trials done so far, you will have to take two injections of the mRNA vaccine to provide your immune system the best potential fighting chance against the coronavirus. This is due to the mRNA quickly getting degraded into your body as a result of which one shot alone is not enough to provide the ultimate protection for your body.

With this, we come to the end of our complete beginners guide for the life-saving mRNA vaccine. But on the last note, allow me to give a piece of last important information related to the mRNA. mRNA as we can relate with the above-mentioned details is the key to putting an end to the infamous Covid-19 era, however, this redemption path is going to come cheaply. As manufacturing proteins is both a time consuming and costly process. Therefore, continue to take precautions.


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*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

About the author:

Sunny Samanta, OpenGrowth Content Team

A lone wolf by definition, a writer by heart, and a lost star with ambitions to light up the dark both inside and around me, sometimes by immersing myself into books or video games or traveling with a backpack to an uncertain destination believing that life is all about the choices we make and we don't.

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