Vaccines against Covid-19: How familiar are we with messenger RNA technology?

It was first used worldwide for a عالمي SerumMessenger RNA or Messenger ribonucleinic acid (mRNA) is a technology that dates back to the 1990s.

The Pasteur Institute credits its discovery to researchers Jacques Monod and François Jacob while they were working on the regulation of gene expression in the early 1960s.

Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines are used against COVID-19 Developed within ten months. This period corresponds to the time between sequencing of the coronavirus that was made in China These vaccines are first approved in the United States.

rapid manufacturing

Unusually short duration compared to other vaccines. But this is not surprising for the mRNA vaccine.

“What makes mRNA in particular is the ability to quickly produce vaccines against new diseases. I think that is one of the most interesting aspects of this technology”explains Daniel Anderson, professor of chemical engineering at With.

While the deadlines Known to get a vaccine Generally ten years old, this “Miracle item” Allows the design of vaccines It can be given to the population less than a year after the start of the pandemic., rejoiceReverend Institute معهد, in a retrospective article on the discovery of this molecule.

appropriate context

In 2019, even before the coronavirus pandemic democratized this technology, Scientific Journal nature saw in mRNA Attractive platform for rapid development and large-scale production of vaccines thanks for that “Strength, versatility, speed of manufacture and low cost”.

« Historically, it has been virtually impossible to introduce new vaccine technology. Except for epidemiological emergencies Explanation of researcher Moncef Al-Salawi Heidi .

I am working on several other vaccines

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On a smaller scale, researchers have already worked on this molecule in the fight against influenza, Ebola or rabies but also in cancer research.

The role of this molecule is to train the immune system to recognize and then destroy pathogens. This is done by teaching cells how to make the spike protein of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, which will trigger an immune response by participating in the production of antibodies.

Read also: COVID-19. BioNTech is ready to produce a new RNA vaccine in 100 days, if needed

purpose of mRNA” It is the synthesis of proteins by the cells of the body.Explains François Buoy, former professor of internal medicine at the Antoine Beclair Hospital in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine).

mRNA molecule is “A transitive component of the genetic system and not a memory of the genetic system.” It’s as if you’re listening to a magnetic tape, saying “the sound will stay”. No, the sound is in the air. The tape will remain but the sound will disappear. For RNA, it’s the same process”It decrypts it.

Technology “developed for a long time”

A technology that sends a message to the cells of the body to produce a specific protein [en l’occurrence la protéine Spike pour le virus SARS-Cov-2, ndlr], has been developed for a long time He adds.

The difficulty with this technique is to ensure that the molecule remains in the surrounding environment and goes into the cells. The reason for the operation ‘It took a long time to develop proteins for genetic deficits’ First.

“Each vaccine has its own efficacy”

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“So we are stepping back from this technology, which was never made to make vaccines but rather proteins. ‘, referring to Francois Pouille.

More, “ By definition, we don’t have a vaccine hindsight “, or “Only in the first injection”.

“It takes some time to know if the immunity remains. Each vaccine has its own effectiveness”Explains the former professor of internal medicine.

Doubts are well established

However, this method struggles to convince some skeptics who especially deplore the immaturity of this technique for vaccination on such a large number of patients. The messenger RNA vaccine has not been used to fight the planet’s epidemic.

This skepticism has found an echo in the medical world. When asked in the media, some pointed to a lack of perspective.

“We lack perspective, we still don’t have scientific publications”Sorry, Professor Eric Commis France Inter . “We lack a perspective on the potentially harmful effects of vaccines.” The judge, for his part, is the Swiss doctor Philippe Seigesser in clear.

“Normal” side effects

The side effects attributed to mRNA vaccines so far, such as inflammatory reactions are “natural” According to François Boye.

with the vaccine We want the body to respond to protein. That vaccinated people get a fever after vaccination, this is not what one wants but it is normal.”.

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reaction “The strongest possible immune system” hour “ efficacy of the vaccine.

According to Gilbert DeRay, the doctor at the Petit Salpetriere Hospital questioned RMC : “In the history of vaccines, no side effects were discovered after three months. Never. No, we will not find side effects in a year or two.”.

While today it is difficult to support this statement with facts because it is still too early to determine, the risk is considered low due to the nature of RNA.

vaccine substrate “Disappears in this technique It is metabolized by the cell and all that remains is the product produced by the cell, that is, the protein, explains François Boy.

The life span of an organism for an RNA molecule is “For a few hours at most”, identifies an immunologist. After his disappearance, there was no longer a trace.

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