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Here's how some of the leading coronavirus vaccines work

January 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 16%. 1 min read.

How do coronavirus vaccines work? Here's a rundown of some of the approaches.

Pfizer and its German-based partner BioNTech use a new approach to making vaccines that uses messenger RNA or mRNA.

In the case of this vaccine, the mRNA instructs the muscle cells in the arm to make the particular piece of the virus's spike protein.

Clinical trials showed Pfizer's vaccine was 95% effective in preventing symptomatic infections.

Moderna's vaccine is also based on mRNA.

And like the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, it codes for cells to make a piece of the spike protein.

Like Pfizer's vaccine, the Moderna vaccine goes into the muscle cells of the arm, and perhaps to nearby immune system cells, and instructs them to make pieces of spike protein.

Clinical trials showed Moderna's vaccine was 94% effective in preventing symptomatic infections and the company says it has data showing the vaccine also prevents all infections, including those that do not cause symptoms.

It also aims to make people's bodies produce their own vaccines by churning out little copies of spike protein, but the delivery method is different.

Maryland-based biotechnology company Novavax specializes in "protein subunit" vaccines.

They use virus-like nanoparticles as a base and cover them with genetically engineered pieces of the coronavirus spike protein.

Chinese company Sinovac's CoronaVac uses an inactivated virus -- one of the oldest methods for vaccinating people.

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