How does the promising new coronavirus vaccine work?

(Spanish CNN) – The National Institutes of Health of United States and the modern biotechnology company has announced that it could provoke the production of neutralizing antibodies against the new coronavirus. The discovery, made in eight volunteers who received the vaccine, opens the way to finding a cure for covid-19.

In this issue, Dr. Elmer Huerta explains the details of this investigation.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform or read the transcript below.

Hello, I’m Dr. Elmer Huerta and here is your daily dose of information on the new coronavirus, information which we hope will be helpful in taking care of your health and that of your family. Today we will see what is a promising new type of vaccine.

Recently it has been announced that a new type of vaccine, developed by United States National Institutes of Health and modern society, could cause the production of neutralizing antibodies against the new coronavirus in eight volunteers.

Without a doubt This is very good news, because the first thing to look for when developing a vaccineis that he is able to To be human react by forming antibodies or immunoglobulins that prevent infection with the virus against which the vaccine is made.

As explained in a previous episode, making traditional vaccines is a slow and time-consuming process.

Vaccines against common diseases such as polio, measles, rubella, pneumonia, among others, have taken several years – if not decades – to develop.

The virus that causes the disease must first be isolated. Then, through slow trial and error processes, modify or mitigate them so that, by injecting them into a person, they do not cause disease, but rather stimulate the system to produce antibodies against it. .

Remember that the raison d’ĂȘtre of a vaccine is that by injecting a modified version of the virus, it will make the defense system think that it is under attack and produce neutralizing antibodies, which ideally last a lifetime.

The just announced Covid-19 vaccine is completely different and was developed in record time.

It all started on January 11, when Chinese scientists revealed the genome of the new coronavirus via the Internet.

Within two days, the team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States and Moderna had already identified and coded which part of the virus could be used to prepare the vaccine.

With this information, 25 days after selecting the sequence, the scientists had already prepared the first batch of vaccines to be tested, and after 42 days, they sent it to the National Institutes of Health to be tested on human volunteers.

After the project was reviewed by the FDA or the United States Food and Drug Administration, after 63 days, the first volunteer received an injection of vaccine and then completed other studies, eventually announcing on May 18 that the The defense had produced – in eight volunteers – amounts of antibodies similar to those produced by people who had already overcome a natural infection with the new coronavirus.

What is interesting with this new vaccine is that it does not use the virus in its final product.

Let’s see how.

Knowing that the virus enters the cell using these projections – like antennas – that it has on its surface, what scientists have done is to determine the structure of this antenna and discovered that it is a protein called spike, which in Spanish could translate as issue or point.

Once they discovered that this protein is what allows the virus to enter cells, the researchers thought that it would be possible to stimulate the body to develop antibodies to neutralize it and thus prevent infection.

To do this, they decoded a molecule called messenger RNA 1273, which is a kind of instruction manual for making the advanced protein, and after purifying it, they injected it into the volunteers.

The defense cells of the volunteers took this messenger RNA 1273 and – already having the instruction manual – they started to manufacture the advanced protein, which deceived the defense system, making believe that the body was attacked by the virus complete, reaching the eight volunteers to produce neutralizing antibodies against the new coronavirus.

As we have seen, this virus was not used in this vaccine, but a sequence of the virus, making it the body of the vaccinated person which produces both the stimulus (peak protein) and the antibodies who react against him.

Even more studies are missing to verify that this new type of vaccine will be usefulbut scientists are so confident that it will work that they are already planning to produce billion doses per year.

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me on @DrHuerta.

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If you have any questions, you can send it Dr Elmer Huerta via Twitter. You can also go to for all episodes of our podcast Coronavirus: Reality versus fiction “.

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