How messenger RNA vaccines work
The first COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market are likely to be messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mRNA vaccines work by teaching cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Unlike many vaccines that use a weakened or inactivated form of a virus, mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, explains how mRNA vaccines work, gives a status update on the pandemic and answers listener questions.
To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
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Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
Dr. Poland has served as a consultant for Merck & Co. Inc., Medicago Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Pasteur, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Dynavax Technologies Corp., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. and Genevant Sciences Corp., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. He is a paid scientific adviser for Johnson & Johnson. Honoraria: Elsevier.