Ever since the breakout of the novel coronavirus, the world has been grappling to find a solution to mitigate its widespread. One of the approaches taken to achieve this goal is using vaccines.
The use of vaccines has proven effective in curtailing the widespread of previous viruses. The same effect will be obtained in COVID-19’s case.
A vaccine is a biological preparation used to trigger an active acquired immune response in the body against a pathogenic invasion. Vaccines are used to boost the body’s immune system to be ready to combat foreign bodies.
The immune system has two parts: innate and acquired. The innate immune system is the part we all are born with. It forms the first line of defence against pathogens.
Acquired immunity depends on previous exposure to an antigen to be able to fight subsequent attacks. It is not inborn but learned and adapted.
There are many COVID-19 vaccines, each one using different mechanisms. The vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials to ascertain their safety and effectiveness.
However, the data gathered so far have shed light on how they work. Below are the three major vaccines in distribution now and how they work.
Pfizer-BioNTech is an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Still, under clinical trial, it has been authorised by the United States of America’s Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for emergency use in individuals 16 years old and above. The vaccine is 95% effective. It contains a pre-form proteinaceous structure of the virus, which is injected into the body to make an inactive and harmless copy. The mRNA contains an encoded message that triggers DNA instructions into action.
The coronavirus has a proteinaceous spiky surface. Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the body’s cells to synthesise these spiky protein structures on their surfaces, triggering the body to strengthen its immune system to combat possible future invasions of the live virus.
The immune system’s response comes into play when it identifies that the introduced vaccine is not supposed to be there. This vaccine works in contrast to traditional vaccines, where an inactive form of the virus or bacteria is introduced to the body to mount up an immune response.
The message transiently carried by the mRNA vaccine does not integrate into human DNA. Two doses are given three weeks apart. The first dose helps the body mount up an immune response, and the second reinforces the immunity.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people ages 18 and above. It is an mRNA vaccine that works like Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective and safe in preventing the coronavirus. It introduces an inactive protein form of the virus to the body to enable the body’s cells to produce the benign protein structures on their surfaces, enabling the immune system to generate an acquired response to the active virus. Two doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are given four weeks apart.
Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is a vector vaccine, which works differently from Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines. It inserts the DNA material from the COVID-19 virus into a weakened virus vector. The virus vector is then introduced to the body, delivering the genetic material to the body’s cells and enabling them to make copies of the S protein.
Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing a COVID-19 infection. Once the S proteins show on the surface of the body cells, the body responds by triggering the creation of antibodies and white blood cells for defence.
COVID-19 vaccines can produce side effects after the first or second dose. Although most of the vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials to fully ascertain their side effects, the following are possible ones:
We hope this article offers a clear explanation of how COVID-19 vaccines work. Getting vaccinated is important to prevent serious medical conditions caused by COVID-19 and help your country achieve herd immunity.
If you are looking for a COVID test in London, rest assured that private clinics in London are using orthodox procedures to ensure that you get tested and receive your result quickly.
For those who have already been vaccinated, health agencies recommend that you check your COVID-19 antibody levels after vaccination to see its effect on your immune system. Know more about the vaccine as well as Covid-19 tests but getting in touch with us.
For more information about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) by NHS.