In December 2020, less than a year after the SARS-CoV-2 virus was identified, two COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were approved for use in the United States under an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Never has a U.S. vaccine been developed so quickly, and genome technology made it possible. Both vaccines use laboratory-produced messenger RNA (mRNA) as the active ingredient. mRNA contains the chemical instructions that ribosomes, the protein-making machinery in cells, use to make proteins. Vaccine mRNA is non-infectious and is broken down quickly in the body. It does not become part of the cell or affect a person’s genes or DNA.

 

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