Google search for “What is the Covid vaccine made of?” Has increased 525 percent in the past four days after two successful studies raised hopes of spreading soon.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they would get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within days after their final analysis found their vaccine to be 95 percent effective with no safety concerns.
Moderna, with its 94.5 percent effective vaccine, is expected to seek emergency FDA approval soon thereafter.
From November 15th to 18th, Google Trends showed the massive surge in the search for the vaccine ingredient list. Traffic was led by people in Texas and Florida, followed by New York and California.
However, the top search results have not kept pace with the so-called “warp speed” of vaccine development.
That’s because the two Covid vaccines are the first of their kind.
Traditional vaccines contain an active component that creates an immune response, usually tiny fragments of the disease-causing organism in the form of a protein, according to the WHO.
They also contain preservatives like 2-phenoxyethanol and stabilizers like sugars (lactose, sucrose), amino acids (glycine), gelatin or proteins (recombinant human albumin, derived from yeast).
Surfactants, which are used in foods such as ice cream, hold the ingredients together, while residues from the manufacturing process such as egg proteins, yeast or antibiotics are present in traces.
They also use diluents like sterile water and adjuvant to stimulate local immune cells, including aluminum salts like aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, or potassium aluminum sulfate.
Pfizer and Moderna’s experimental vaccines, technically called BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively, are made synthetically using messenger ribonucleic acid (or mRNA). RNA and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are nucleic acids that contain genetic instructions for creating life.
Instead of injecting an organic version of the virus to create an immune response, mRNA contains snippets from the genetic code of the coronavirus spike protein that instructs the body’s cells to produce a small facsimile of this spike protein that the immune system uses to produce Antibodies boosts.
For the Googlers who want to know exactly what the Covid vaccine is made of, it becomes a matter of chemistry in making this synthetic mRNA, which is information buried in a complex web of patents.
Neither Pfizer nor Moderna immediately responded to requests for a breakdown of the chemistry into BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273.
Paula Cannon, associate professor of microbiology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told The Independent that vaccine developers improved natural RNA, which is short-lived and fragile, to make it more stable and long-lived.
“They can be made entirely synthetically. You don’t need a biologist on board to make these. You need a chemist,” said Ms. Cannon.
“Part of the secret source of these vaccines is that chemists have found a way to modify RNA and enhance nature’s evolution to increase its stability and dampen its strangeness to the body. We don’t want the body freaking out about this RNA being injected into it. So there were some chemical modifications to make the RNA a little more stealthy. ”
While the specificity of these chemical modifications is not readily available, it is publicly known that the vaccines are encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles, a fat covering used to protect the fragile mRNA molecules.
These lipids, also synthetically engineered, were mentioned in a July study published in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that analyzed Moderna’s Phase 1 study, which states “the lipid nanoparticle is made up of from four lipids “.
While the published literature does not provide a closer look at the sausage factory, it does provide more insight into how mRNA and lipid nanoparticles work together to deliver the vaccine to the body.
“It’s like a carrier and a protective chemical that helps package, protect, and deliver the RNA. This is often based on lipids that are made entirely chemically,” Ms. Cannon said.
“So you have a flask that makes the RNA and a flask that makes the lipid, and they kind of mix together. The way the chemistry is done is that the RNA is attracted to the lipid and forms a complex of it. and that brings the RNA into a goldilocks spot. ”
Pfizer’s vaccine requires it to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit to stay in that goldilocks zone, while Moderna’s vaccine has to stay at -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
For decades, researchers have tried to trick the body’s immune system using mRNA, and the Covid vaccines would be the first successful implementation since research began in the early 1990s.
If they were approved by the FDA, not only would they have a huge impact on the Covid pandemic, but they would also open the door to a whole range of vaccines against viruses like herpes, HIV, and flu.