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What's different about COVID vaccines?

MIAMI | Unlike traditional vaccines, the two COVID vaccines so far approved for use in the United States, Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna’s, do not use weakened or inactivated versions of a virus to trigger the body’s immune response. Instead, both rely on a relatively new and never-before-used technology: messenger RNA (mRNA).

According to an article published Nov. 25, 2020 in The Scientist magazine: “mRNA vaccines work by providing the genetic code for our cells to produce viral proteins. Once the proteins, which don’t cause disease, are produced, the body launches an immune response against the virus, enabling the person to develop immunity. mRNA can theoretically be used to produce any protein, with the upside that it is much simpler to manufacture than the proteins themselves or the inactivated and attenuated versions of viruses typically used in vaccines, making it an appealing technique, says Norbert Pardi, an mRNA vaccine specialist at the University of Pennsylvania.”

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