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The SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccines

Author: William Tsay

Editors: Angela Pan and Hwi-On Lee

Artist: Acey Li

Every day, millions of coronavirus cases are reported. Many are sick of staying home and following CDC guidelines. The first coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) case was reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, causing a worldwide pandemic. On December 11, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved and available after numerous clinical trials. This vaccine was a breakthrough in modern medicine, as it was the first mRNA product to achieve full FDA approval in the U.S. Although the Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA to combat the virus, another vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson, uses the traditional vector method. Additionally, approving a vaccine for public use is long and complex; it requires the vaccine to pass a series of trials. What are the qualifications for a vaccine to be approved? How do the mRNA and the viral vector vaccine compare?