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COVID-19 sets race for vaccines but how exactly does a vaccine work?

The COVID-19 pandemic sets off a race to develop new vaccines to counter the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in countries around the globe.

Despite the fact that more than 200 possible vaccines are being developed, to date only pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Moderna have developed one, with more than 90% effectiveness.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), vaccines work by mimicking an infectious organism, whether it is viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause disease.

In this way, our body teaches the immune system to generate a rapid and effective response against the disease,” UNICEF highlighted on its website.

The organization explains that traditionally, vaccines have achieved this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it.

UNICEF notes that this allows our immune system to quickly recognize and fight it before it makes us ill. This is how some current COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being designed today.

The entity indicates that in addition, other possible vaccines are being developed using new approaches: these are the so-called RNA and DNA.

“Instead of introducing antigens (a substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies), RNA and DNA vaccines give our body the genetic code it needs to allow our immune system to produce the antigen itself.”

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