- February 13, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- The Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is expected to roll out India’s ﬁrst home-grown mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine by April.
- Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a single-stranded RNA molecule that is complementary to one of the DNA strands of a gene.
- mRNA, like most RNAs, are made in the nucleus and then exported to the cytoplasm where the translation machinery, the machinery that actually makes proteins, binds to these mRNA molecules and reads the code on the mRNA to make a specific protein.
- So in general, one gene, the DNA for one gene, can be transcribed into an mRNA molecule that will end up making one specific protein.
mRNA Vaccine/ Synthetic mRNA:
- Every strand of mRNA is made up of four molecular building blocks called nucleosides. But in its altered, synthetic form, one of those building blocks simply subbed it out for a slightly tweaked version, creating a hybrid mRNA that could sneak its way into cells without alerting the body’s defenses.
- To produce a mRNA vaccine, scientists produce a synthetic version of the mRNA that a virus uses to build its infectious proteins.
- This mRNA is delivered into the human body, whose cells read it as instructions to build that viral protein, and therefore create some of the virus’s molecules themselves.
- While Other vaccines use a piece of DNA to envelope the spike protein genes. An mRNA vaccine works in similar ways in that it too is a piece of genetic code inserted into the body to stimulate an immune response.
mRNA Vaccine vs Traditional Vaccines:
- Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of the whole disease-causing organism, or the proteins that it produces, which are introduced into the body to provoke the immune system into mounting a response.
- mRNA vaccines tricks the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself.
- They work by using mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is the molecule that essentially puts DNA instructions into action. Inside a cell, mRNA is used as a template to build a protein.
- A major advantage of mRNA and DNA vaccines is that because they only need the genetic code, it is possible to quickly update vaccines to emerging variants and even use them for a variety of diseases.
- A challenge with mRNA vaccines is that they need to be frozen from -90 degree Celsius to -50 degree Celsius.
- A major reason why mRNA vaccines never made it to India was the stringent freezer conditions that made them expensive.