mRNA Vaccine - Current Affairs Topics for UPSC Exam

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 1, 2023, 16:45

mRNA Vaccines help the human body to fight against foreign bodies or pathogens, like bacteria or viruses, fight infections. Unlike other vaccines that introduce a harmless piece of bacteria into the human blood to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines use a molecule called RNA, or messenger, that induces protein production into the human body. In other words, it teaches our cells to make a particular kind of protein that is capable of triggering an immune response inside the body.

How does it Work?

mRNA vaccines use genetic information to create a blueprint for the production of proteins in the human body. They use a molecule named messenger, or RNA, essential for protein production. As soon as the protein production procedure is complete, the cells quickly break down the mRNA. This means that the mRNA from the vaccine does not enter the DNA of the person being injected with it.

How does it Help?

Individuals who have taken the mRNA vaccine are not exposed to the virus. They cannot get infected by the vaccine either. The cells in the human body produce the viral protein using the mRNA blueprint. This protein acts as a fighter against infections by recognising viruses and other pathogens that enter the system, attaching them, and marking them for destruction. This means if a person contracts a virus after getting the mRNA vaccine, the proteins (antibodies) would immediately recognise it, attach it and destroy it before it causes any serious harm to the patient.

Advantages of mRNA Vaccine Over Other Traditional Vaccines

The mRNA vaccines have many plus points over the traditional vaccines that induce a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. They are:

  • mRNA vaccines are easy to design
  • They need lesser time to design
  • They work out to be low in cost of production
  • It induces both cellular and humoral immunity
  • It does not interact with the genomic DNA of an individual
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FAQs on mRNA Vaccines

Q1. What are some of the examples of mRNA vaccines?

Ans: Some of the mRNA vaccine names are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Walvax Covid-19 vaccine, etc.

Q2. When was the first mRNA vaccine given to the public?

Ans: The first authorised use of mRNA vaccines, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, was granted by the US FDA in December 2020, thereby making it the first-ever mRNA vaccine to be made available to the public.

Q3. How is mRNA vaccine different from other approaches?

Ans: The mRNA vaccines teach the cells in the human body to become autonomous production plants for proteins, required to fight against viruses like COVID-19

Q4. How long does the effect of an mRNA vaccine last?

Ans: The cells in the human body break down mRNA and get rid of them within a few days of receiving the vaccine, and hence the spike protein, created by the RNA molecule, lasts for a few weeks only.