Pfizer’s announcement shows the promise of gene-based vaccines – Nicole Wetsman

Headquarters of pharmaceutical company BioNTechThe BioNTech headquarters. | Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that their vaccine was 90 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in clinical trials. The data is still preliminary and hasn’t been examined by independent researchers, but it’s good news for both this specific vaccine and for the other coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline — especially the ones that are based on the same genetic technology.

“It’s extremely encouraging, in my view, not only for the Pfizer vaccine, but broadly speaking for the platform,” says Ross Kedl, an immunologist at the University of Colorado.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is made from genetic material called mRNA. mRNA carries instructions inside of cells and tells them to build proteins. The vaccine includes a…

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