As the coronavirus, scientifically named nCOVID-19, continues to spread across the globe, scientists are racing to get a vaccine ready to stop the virus.
Vaccines usually take years, however, before public distribution is viable. As developments for a vaccine are ongoing, four groups at the National Institute of Health in the US are using a method to provide protection while the pandemic is still spreading.
The method is called Vaccine Rapid Response Platforms. Unlike typical vaccines that directly inject antigens to prime the body against the disease, this type of vaccine manipulates cells to develop its own antigens. These antigen proteins are specific to the virus it’s supposed to defeat.
This process saves on development time, since the vaccine will be built using the Rapid Response Platform sequence. Once the platform is developed, a new vaccine sequence code can be inserted.
One prominent team using this platform to develop its own vaccine sequence code is Moderna. Their platform uses a part of the Coronavirus’s genetic code called Messenger RNA. This code will then send instructions to our body’s cells to develop antigen proteins to help fight off the virus. It basically stimulates your immune system to recognize the Coronavirus and prevent you from becoming sick.
Moderna’s Messenger RNA platform is still early in development, however, but the NIH views this solution as promising. Moderna is one of three candidates funded by the NIH using Rapid Response Platforms to develop a vaccine. If any of the three are successful, then we can see the production of the vaccine be completed within 16 weeks.
Hopefully, Moderna or any of the other candidates can come up with the a viable vaccine quickly as the virus continues to spread at an accelerating rate.