Messenger RNA—or mRNA—vaccines have been in development for decades, and are now approved for use against COVID-19. Here’s how they work and what you should know about them. Visit https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19 for even more resources.
The U.S. began vaccinating the population against the coronavirus earlier this month, but mass adoption is not a guarantee. Roughly four in ten Americans say they would “definitely” or “probably” not get a vaccine, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Watch this video to find out how major stakeholders plan to convince the entire country to trust a vaccine made in record time, using mRNA technology that’s never before been licensed.
Staff Writer Meredith Wadman and host Sarah Crespi discuss what to expect from the two messenger RNA–based vaccines against COVID-19 that have recently released encouraging results from their phase III trials and the short-term side effects some recipients might see on the day of injection.
Sarah also talks with researcher Xing Chen, a project co-leader and postdoctoral scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, about using brain stimulation to restore vision. Researchers have known for about 70 years that electrical stimulation at certain points in the brain can lead to the appearance of a phosphene—a spot of light that appears not because there’s light there, but because of some other stimulation, like pressing on the eyeball. If electrical stimulation can make a little light appear, how about many lights? Can we think about phosphenes as pixels and draw a picture for the brain? How about a moving picture?
Early data from US biotech Moderna has revealed that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5 per cent effective, raising hopes that a range of immunisations will be available to help end the pandemic. The interim analysis of the vaccine, currently known as mRNA-1273, comes after 95 trial participants contracted Covid-19, including just five who were given the coronavirus jab. While the data was published via a press release, it includes significant details that remain unclear around the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – which uses the same mRNA technology to target the coronavirus spike protein and an immune response.