What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work, the type of dose that Argentina will produce

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After the arrival of the first batches of vaccines from Pfizer and with almost two-thirds of the doses of Modern donated by USA in the arms of adolescents with comorbidities or older adults, the news that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO) selected Argentina and Brazil to create two centers for the development and production of vaccines with messenger RNA technology returned to these platforms in center stage. What are they and what is their effectiveness?

So far, there are two approved vaccines with this platform: Pfizer and Moderna. Both prototypes of North American origin have a technology that, although it had already been developed for other infections, successfully debuted in the pandemic.

What are mRNA vaccines?

According to him United States Center for Disease Control (CDC, for its acronym in English) this class of vaccines is intended to generate protection against infectious diseases, as do all other immunizations, but to achieve this end Researchers generate immunizations that allow the body to learn to defend itself without the virus entering.

In the case of attenuated or inactivated virus vaccines (Sinopharm) or viral vector vaccines (Spuntik V – AstraZeneca), a portion of the virus is introduced into the body, either dead or disguised in a sort of “Trojan Horse” , so that the organism reacts. Nevertheless, in mRNA sera, the body is instructed to generate cells similar to the infectious agent so that the immune response is awakened.

These immunizations cause the cells to produce the protein (Spike) characteristic of Covid-19, either totally or partially, without the disease being activated. Although the immune system will produce, in the same way, the necessary antibodies to respond to the infection.

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Once the vaccine is given, immune cells break down the genetic instructions contained in the serum and begin to generate the “harmless protein” that will mimic SARS-CoV-2. After identifying these as “simulators”, the immune system recognizes the protein as a foreign body and begins to generate a response and produce antibodies in the same way as it would with natural infection. At the end of the process, the body will have learned to defend itself against infection without the need for the virus to have entered the body.

It is worth noting that, despite the fact that this process made its debut efficiently during the pandemic, mRNA vaccines have been developed for decades, being that “Interest in these immunizations increased because they can be developed in a laboratory with readily available materials; which means that the procedure can be standardized and expanded so that the development of the vaccine is faster than the traditional methods of vaccine production ”, highlighted the CDC.

What is the efficacy and effectiveness of this class of immunizations

Beyond the studies that are still being developed by other laboratories, so far only immunizations of Pfizer and ModernBoth were endorsed for emergency use in the pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The first approved by both the WHO and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was the vaccine Pfizer/BioNTech.

Beyond the initial numbers, which placed its efficacy in phase 3 studies at 94.5% against asymptomatic forms of infection, in a recent study carried out on the population of Israel it was shown that its effectiveness climbed 97%, item that is measured when the inoculation is provided in the general population.

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As stated by the pharmaceutical company, “the results represent the most complete concrete tests to date that demonstrate the efficacy of a vaccine against COVID-19”, which “may be important for all countries of the world as they advance their own vaccination campaigns ”.

However, when facing the Delta variant, the laboratory warned that there was a drop in immunity. “As seen in the real world data published by the Israel Ministry of Health, the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has decreased six months after vaccination, although the effectiveness in the prevention of serious diseases remains high “, they indicated in a statement where they also warned that”a third dose may be beneficial between 6 and 12 months after the second dose”.

Secondly, Moderna’s vaccine was included in the WHO COVAX list on April 30 of this year after “evaluating its quality, its safety and its efficacy”, a measure that had already been endorsed by the FDA and the EMA.

According to the international organization, this immunization has an efficacy of approximately 94.1% at 14 days after the first dose. Even in a study published in the specialized journal Nature Medicine, this vaccine was shown to be 100% effective against the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7 – United Kingdom) and 96% Beta (501Y.V2 – South Africa) at 14 days after the application of the second dose.

Meanwhile, when facing the Delta variant, after the administration of two doses, the results showed that its efficacy is 2.1 times lower than against the original strain, according to the results of a study published in bioRxiv, which is not yet peer-reviewed.

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