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Self-replicating mRNA Covid-19 vaccines:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Developments in Science and Technology.



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.

Current Affairs


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.

Current Affairs


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.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is a vaccine?
  2. How do vaccines work?
  3. Working of the immune system.
  4. What is mRNA?
  5. Potential applications of mRNA vaccines.

Mains Link:

Discuss the benefits of mRNA vaccines. 

Sources: the Hindu.