Previously, researchers have tested mRNA vaccines on humans for rabies, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and Zika.
Messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA) are not new, as researchers have been studying these vaccines for decades. It is true that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time that an mRNA vaccine got mass-production approval for emergency use on humans. However, it was not the first time that vaccines using mRNA technology were used on humans. Researchers have previously tested mRNA vaccines on humans for several infectious diseases, including rabies, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and Zika.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines instruct our cells to produce a viral protein. During this process, the immune system recognizes the protein as foreign and produces antibodies. These antibodies protect the human body against viruses or infections. Therefore, the vaccines train the immune system to fight individual viruses or pathogens by recognizing and responding to them. If and when a person is exposed to the actual virus, the antibodies can quickly identify it and fight it off.
Before developing the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a few pharmaceuticals, including Moderna, attempted to produce an mRNA rabies and flu vaccine. MedPage Today reported that in 2017, CureVac, a German biopharmaceutical, performed a phase I trial of its rabies mRNA vaccine and published it in The Lancet. Additionally, in 2019, Moderna published phase I results of two mRNA vaccines against the flu. However, neither of the two vaccines showed path-breaking results to fight rabies or flu.
Oligonucleotide Therapeutics revealed that "the urgency created by COVID-19" was one reason why the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was successful in producing impressive clinical trial results. As a result, the pharmaceutical companies decided to put all of their manufacturing capabilities into building a successful COVID-19 vaccine.
There has been some misinformation regarding the safety of mRNA vaccines. However, the CDC's website explicitly states that the COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, are "safe and effective."
Several countries, including the U.S, U.K, Germany and France, are providing mRNA vaccines. Currently, there are two mRNA vaccines in use, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. As of June 28, 2021, more than two billion COVID-19 doses have been administered globally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.