Moderna’s groundbreaking coronavirus vaccine was designed in just 2 days
Author: Susie Neilson, Andrew Dunn, Aria Bendix Abstract: The biotech company designed its vaccine, which is highly effective, over two days in January — before many people had heard of the coronavirus. URL: www.businessinsider.com/moderna-designed-coronavirus-vaccine-in-2-days-2020-11 Source: Business Insider
But perhaps more remarkable is that Moderna [designed its vaccine in just two days in January](www.businessinsider.com/how-moderna-developed-coronavirus-vaccine-record-time-2020-11), before some people had even heard of the coronavirus.
Messenger RNA is genetic material that tells cells how to make proteins. So Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate works by injecting a small piece of mRNA from the coronavirus that codes for the virus’ spike protein. This protein helps the coronavirus attach to and invade cells, and it’s what antibodies target and neutralize. Moderna’s mRNA vaccine spurs the body to produce the spike protein internally. That, in turn, triggers an immune response.
Utilizing mRNA technology meant that both Pfizer and Moderna only needed the coronavirus’ genetic sequence to make a vaccine — no virus had to be cultivated in labs. That’s why the companies were able to progress in record time. By contrast, the development of more traditional vaccines [can take years](www.businessinsider.com/how-coronavirus-vaccine-development-compares-to-other-shots-in-history-2020-11).
On January 11, researchers from China published the genetic sequence of the coronavirus. Two days later, Moderna’s team and NIH scientists had finalized the targeted genetic sequence they would use in the vaccine.
“This is not a complicated virus,” Bancel told [The New York Times](www.nytimes.com/2020/11/21/us/politics/coronavirus-vaccine.html).