Take your jab: mRNA vaccine explained

Cassie Guo, Ph.D, Senior Data Scientist, Epidemiology & Abhineet Gupta, Ph.D, Director of Resilience Research

mRNA is a trickster molecule. It is an undercover agent that sneaks into the human body with the mission of sending misleading signals to initiate a war on the immune system. The idea of mRNA vaccine is to synthesize specific mRNA molecules to elicit pathogen-specific immune responses. It is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic put such technology into massive adoption. The vaccines are the most anticipated final game to get everything back to normal. But when vaccines against other pathogens (influenza, ebola, zika, etc) were developed, the speed wasn’t even comparable — most vaccines’ development cycles can span over 10 years. We might wonder what it takes to make such vaccines at such rapid speed?

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