The COVID-19 Vaccine
The novel virus, SARS-CoV-2 (short for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”) first appeared in China and then spread all over the world, reaching even Antarctica. This is the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Scientists, researchers and pharmaceutical companies around the world started working on developing a vaccine that would help the body produce antibodies against the virus.
A lot of questions were asked before they developed the vaccine, and after it became available; questions about both the virus and the vaccine against it. As such, I’d like to invite you on a short journey to learn more about the vaccine, with stops at stations that you already know.
The first stop is our body’s defense system—or what we call the immune system (See page 13 in the book.)
The second stop are the pathogens, which represent the bacteria and viruses. This time, we’ll focus on the viruses. (Go to page 55 in the book).
?Why is the disease called COVID-19
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, announced that the novel coronavirus disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 would be called COVID-19.
The letters CO stand for “corona”
The letters VI stand for “virus”
The letter D stands for “disease”
And the number 19 symbolizes the year 2019, the year that the virus was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China.
Drug companies have developed a vaccine that causes the immune system to create an immune response against the virus.
The more people are immune to the disease, the harder it will be for the virus to infect new people. In the meantime, I invite you to “make friends” with the virus.
How can you make friends with a virus?
Oh, you certainly can. And the best way to do so is by understanding how it works and learning the means and methods we have to deal with it. This will make it easier to remain calm and make it through this period with a true feeling of security and faith.
All these things help us to achieve inner peace, and mental wellbeing strengthens our body’s immune system and enables it to maintain its inner balance, so it’s a win-win situation.
I wonder how the vaccine works on our body…
Medicine has several types of vaccines that work in different ways. For a long time now, a few main methods have been used (You can read about this in the book on page 59.)
In recent years, a new method had been developed that uses messenger RNA, which in medical terms is called mRNA.
Messenger RNA is one of the types of RNA found in the cells of living beings.
Who are the RNA and the mRNA that we’re
?hearing so much about
There are a few types of RNA molecules, and they each have a job and a function to perform.Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is one of these.
And why do we call it a messenger?
mRNA is a type of molecule made up of nucleic acids that are produced in the cell nucleus.
To understand why messenger RNA received that name, we first need to understand two concepts:
What proteins are
What nucleic acids are
Who are you, Proteins?
Proteins are chains of amino acids.
It is important to know that amino acids are a group of substances that make up the basic structural units of proteins.
Proteins are found in every cell of every animal and plant, and they play an important and central role in the functioning of the body, such as:
growth regulation, regeneration and maintenance of the body’s tissues, and these are very significant to life.
Who are you, Nucleic Acids?
Nucleic acids are compounds found in all living cells, and they constitute the genetic material of every living thing in nature. Nucleic acids contain the building instructions for the various proteins in the body.
What does mRNA have to do with nucleic acids and proteins?
A messenger RNA is an auxiliary molecule for building proteins, made up of nucleic acids. It is copied from a DNA molecule that makes up the genetic code, and thus it carries the genetic information that contains the instructions for the production of proteins that are essential for our body cells.
DNA and RNA are molecules that produce living beings.
We shouldn’t confuse DNA with RNA. They are different:
RNA are molecules that are part of the genetic mechanism, and they play key roles in a wide variety of processes in the human body and in the expression and translation of genetic information for protein production.
All of the hereditary information for building proteins in the cells of all living beings, from bacteria to humans, is encrypted in DNA molecules.
Illustration by SergeyNivens, depositphotos.com
Photo by niphon, depositphotos.com
Now we can take a closer look at the virus that causes COVID-19 and figure out who it is.
(You can read more about viruses on page 55 of the book)
A virus can be made up of either DNA or RNA molecules. The virus that causes COVID-19 and that people all over the world have been exposed to is made up of RNA molecules.
The virus binds to proteins in the outer wall of the cells and uses them to penetrate the cells. It then releases its own mRNA into the cell. The cell “reads” the virus’s RNA and produces proteins according to the “instructions” written in it.
Those proteins are later used to make more copies of the virus and they cause an infection. The more the infected cell produces more and more of the virus’s RNA and proteins, the worse the infection gets. In this way, millions of copies of the virus are made before the cell finally breaks down and dies. The copies of the virus then leave the cell to go and penetrate other cells.
Many people ask themselves how the virus can be dealt with.
There are different opinions and answers as to how to deal with the virus and prevent further infections.
The virus enters the body through the nose, mouth and eyes. It is wrapped in a bubble of fatty molecules, which break down on contact with soap. As such, the best way to avoid catching COVID-19 and other viruses is to wash our hands with soap, avoid touching our face, keep a healthy distance from sick people, regularly clean the surfaces that we use frequently, and wear a mask when we’re around people we don’t live with.
Photo by: blinova.tl, depositphotos.com
Photo by: Milkos, depositphotos.com
The New Way—Vaccination
Why should we be vaccinated?
The purpose of the vaccine is to stimulate the body to produce antibodies against the virus and to activate other components of the immune system to work against it. This will prevent the virus from infecting our cells, which will lead to the prevention of the disease.
How the mRNA vaccine works
The vaccine for COVID-19 is different from most of the vaccines.
It contains synthesized messenger RNA (mRNA), which has been made into a compound that mimics the structure of the proteins of the virus that causes COVID-19 well enough to make the body recognize it and fight against it.
During this reaction, our body produces antibodies, which enables all of our body’s defense systems to prepare the weapons it needs to destroy the invaders. If the virus arrives, the immune system is ready for it, it immediately identifies it and neutralizes it, thus preventing the disease.
People who have already caught the virus do not need the vaccine.
Along with the effort to develop a vaccine, a great deal of effort is also being made around the world to find drugs and treatments that will prevent the disease or at least the serious complications it can cause.
Another way to deal with COVID-19 and any other disease is to raise the body’s level of vitality, reduce our stress levels, and maintain mental and physical immunity and inner balance. These allow the body to achieve wellbeing and to cope with diseases.