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Engineering Of The Covid 19 Vaccine

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Engineering
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Arizona State University
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Engineering of the Covid-19 Vaccine
Summary of the event
The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as the biggest threat to global health and prosperity
since World War II. Since December 2019, when the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China,
there has been a worldwide effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19 to save
the world against the unprecedented impacts of Covid-19. Weakened or inactive virus vaccines
grown in eggs or cells have been the most prevalent, but they take as long a decade to develop and
deploy. Consequently, manufacturers developing the Covid-19 vaccine have turned to genetic
technology to produce genetically engineered vaccines. BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 mRNA
vaccine was one of the first mRNA vaccines to meet the required safety standards and be used in
humans in the fight against Covid-19.
The Process of Development
Vaccine development is a complex process that is both resource-intensive and time-
consuming. Before vaccines are accepted, certified, and rolled out, they must be effective and meet
safety standards. The idea of a vaccine is to prepare the human immune system to prepare for and
deal with pathogens, hence preventing the body from getting ill. The mRNA vaccine contains
volatile genetic material that describes the SARS-CoV-2 ‘Spike’ protein and gets the genetic
material into some of the body cells (Haque and Anudeep 741). These cells then start producing
SARS-CoV-2 ‘Spike’ protein in large quantities, thus stimulating the immune system's response.
The mRNA vaccine development began by creating messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
sequences that complement the Coronavirus's DNA strand. The DNA strand contains information
or genetic instructions that are used to make proteins. These instructions to make proteins are
contained in mRNA’s instructions (Haque and Anudeep 741). Therefore, the genetic engineers at
BioNTech/Pfizer wanted to create an mRNA sequence that would create coronavirus spike protein
so that a person’s immune system could recognize Covid-19 and learn how to make an antibody
to fight it (World Health Organization). Therefore, the genetic engineers produced a genetic code
that would instruct the ribosomes to synthesize an mRNA sequence with physical properties that
mimic the protein spikes of the Coronavirus. This method would then power an automated
production of the vaccine using prior data to tailor mRNA sequences.

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Fig1: How mRNA operates against pathogens.
Source: Raji Sahato, https://new.engineering.com/story/new-promising-coronavirus-vaccine-is-
more-than-94-effective
The development of genetically engineered mRNA vaccines was based on the
understanding of years that humans run a powerful antivirus system. The human body is highly
responsive to foreign RNA and makes attempts to destroy them once detected (Poland, Inna, and
Stephen n.p). The normal RNA characters are A, C, G, and U. However, past studies have
established that when the “U” on the RNA is replaced with a slightly modified molecule, it is not
destroyed by the immune system. Based on this knowledge, BioNTech/Pfizer replaced every U on
the RNA strand with 1-methyl-3’-pseudouridylyl, denoted by Ψ. The immune system accepts the
Ψ as a normal U in relevant parts of the RNA strand. As a consequence, the Ψ helps the body
mRNA vaccine evade the immune system and stay long enough in the body to train the immune
system to produce a response (Walsh, Edward et al. 1). The scientists developing the vaccine also
realized that replacing many characters on the RNA strand with Gs and Cs led to converting RNA
into proteins. Consequently, they replaced as many characters with G and Cs to enhance RNA’s
production of protein spikes. These protein spikes are the ones that provoke the body to produce
immunity by encoding the viral spike from SARS-CoV-2.

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Surname 1 Student’s Name Professor’s Name Course Date Engineering of the Covid-19 Vaccine Summary of the event The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as the biggest threat to global health and prosperity since World War II. Since December 2019, when the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, there has been a worldwide effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19 to save the world against the unprecedented impacts of Covid-19. Weakened or inactive virus vaccines grown in eggs or cells have been the most prevalent, but they take as long a decade to develop and deploy. Consequently, manufacturers developing the Covid-19 vaccine have turned to genetic technology to produce genetically engineered vaccines. BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine was one of the first mRNA vaccines to meet the required safety standards and be used in humans in the fight against Covid-19. The Process of Development Vaccine development is a complex process that is both resource-intensive and timeconsuming. Before vaccines are accepted, certified, and rolled out, they must be effective and meet safety standards. The idea of a vaccine is to prepare the human immune system to prepare for and deal with pathogens, hence preventing the body from getting ill. The mRNA vaccine contains volatile genetic material that describes the SARS-CoV-2 ‘Spike’ protein and gets the genetic material into some of the body cells (Haque and Anudeep 741). These cells then start producing SARS-CoV-2 ‘ ...
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