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mRNA vaccines

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 02, May 2022
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Topics:  GS III

Why in News?

A California based pharmaceutical company has developed ARCT-154, a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine against Covid-19 infection.


It offered 95% protection against severe Covid-19 and 55% against Covid infection.

What are mRNA vaccines?

An mRNA vaccine use messenger RNA that encodes the spike protein of the coronavirus.

  • The mRNA directs the cell to produce copies of the spike protein, so that the immune system will recognise the spike if and when actual infection takes place, and mount a response.

Examples: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

What are self-amplifying mRNA vaccines?

A self-amplifying mRNA vaccine is an improvement on the traditional RNA platform. It encodes four extra proteins in addition to the vaccine antigen, and these enable amplification of the original strand of RNA once inside the cell. The basic advantage is that it requires a smaller dose.


‘Lucy’ Mission:

Launched in October 2022, this is NASA’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

  • It is a solar-powered mission.
  • It is estimated to be over 12 years long, during the course of which the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion km to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.

Aim of the mission:

The mission is designed to understand the composition of the diverse asteroids that are a part of the Trojan asteroid swarms, to determine the mass and densities of the materials and to look for and study the satellites and rings that may orbit the Trojan asteroids.