In the race for a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the synthetic mRNA format has been shown to be the fastest one and proved to be safe and highly efficient, even at the very low dose of a few µg per injection. The mRNA vaccines are not new: vaccines that are based on attenuated mRNA viruses, such as Mumps, Measles, and Rubella, immunize by delivering their mRNAs into the cells of the vaccinated individual, who produces the viral proteins that then prime the immune response. Synthetic mRNA in liposomes can be seen as a modern, more refined, and thereby a safer version of those live attenuated RNA viruses. The anti-COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (coding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein) is the third synthetic RNA therapeutic being approved. It follows the aptamer Macugen®
(which neutralizes VEGF) and the siRNA Onpattro®
(which destroys the transthyretin-coding mRNA). Remarkably, the 30 µg of mRNA that are contained in the first approved anti-COVID-19 vaccine are sufficient for generating high levels of neutralizing antibodies against the virus in all injected volunteers (including participants over 65 years old). The efficacy and safety data are stunning. The distribution of these vaccines throughout the world will bring a halt to the coronavirus pandemic.
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