As the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a wave of widespread vaccine misinformation, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the topic to make the best decisions for your health now and for years to come. The rapid and effective development of the COVID vaccine is a testament to the progress made in the development and production of modern vaccines. Here are the basics of vaccines and everything you need to know to understand the future of development and how to protect yourself from disease now and for years to come.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines are designed to prepare your immune system to fight off infections and diseases. The earliest vaccines were developed using a weaker virus to boost the immune system without making the person sick or developing symptoms. The two traditional forms of vaccines are live attenuated vaccines and they are killed or inactive. Live vaccines are traditionally made by passing a virus through a series of animal cells that continue to alter the cell’s ability to replicate within its animal host. The virus becomes better at replicating in an animal than in a human, weakening the virus against human cells. When this attenuated virus is given to a human, it cannot replicate and sicken the host, but the immune system will still be able to fight it and develop a response that it can use to fight the host against it in the future. protect the virus. Killed or inactive vaccines are made using heat or chemicals on a pathogen to destroy its ability to replicate, while leaving the virus intact and recognizable to the human immune system. These vaccines have no risk of mutation. However, they don’t offer protection for that long and usually need boosters.
In the 1960s, scientists first began experimenting with delivering mRNA directly to cells. RNA is a polymeric molecule essential for gene expression, coding and regulation. Messenger RNA or mRNA is a single strand in RNA that contains the instructions for building proteins. mRNA vaccines will deliver these protein instructions directly to the host’s immune system to help it build antibodies to fight specific diseases.
Operation Warp Speed
During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for a vaccine was greater than ever, with an unprecedented spread that sent most of the world into lockdown. Operation Warp Speed, a US government initiative to accelerate vaccine development, has prompted researchers and manufacturers to create mRNA COVID vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. The development of these vaccines has only been possible with companies like Avantor, who “meet your biopharmaceutical needs from discovery to commercial launch with a portfolio of industry-leading manufacturing chemicals, single-use solutions and sera, backed by our deep commitment to quality and innovation.” Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing is essential for the reliable and safe production of vaccines worldwide. New technologies have enabled companies like Avantor to streamline vaccine production and distribution to effectively serve large populations.
The future of vaccine development will include greater advances in recombinant vaccines that use DNA structures to build greater immunity and technological advancements that will aid the rapid development of vaccines. Today, machine learning has helped researchers quickly conduct tests and analyze data that streamlined many of the stages of vaccine development. Understanding the basics of how vaccines work and how scientists develop vaccines today will help you make good decisions about your health in the future.
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