Let’s take a deeper look into what mRNA vaccines are in relation to Covid-19.
Traditionally vaccines used to prevent the flu, or polio, contained either a purified signature protein of the virus, or a weakened strain of the virus. These are known as Killed Vaccines or Live Vaccines.
Messenger RNA vaccines, also known as mRNA vaccines, differ from these two most common vaccines. mRNA’s are designed to train the immune system to recognize the Covid-19 virus. The Covid19 mRNA uses what is referred to as a “spike protein”. The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid19.
When you look at an image of the Covid19 virus you’ll notice what looks like little red trees. It is these trees that are being used as the “spike protein”.
The injection is given into the muscle in the upper arm, the muscle cells begin to make a copy of the Spike protein. Once the protein is created the “recipe” is broken broken down allowing it to travel through the body. The cell then displays the protein on its surface and the immune system recognizes it as an invader that shouldn’t be there. This is what elicits an immune response and starts making antibodies against the virus. Just like what would happen with a naturally acquired Covid-19 infection.
At the end of this process our bodies will have learned how to protect against potential future infection of the Covid-19 Virus.
Since mRNA’s don’t use live material in the vaccines, both mRNA’s and Killed vaccines are safe for patients on biologics.
As always this is not a replacement for medical advice. If you have questions please contact a medical professional.
Medically reviewed by Symmetry Dermatology and Newlab Clinical Research
Authors Krystle Sutherland & Stephanie Carter
Health Canada Covid-19 mRNA Vaccines