What is mRNA? The messenger molecule that's been in every living cell for billions of years is the key ingredient in some COVID-19 vaccines

Recently in the spotlight for its role in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA is not a new invention. It's a crucial messenger molecule at work every day in every cell in your body.

Penny Riggs, Associate Professor of Functional Genomics and Associate Vice President for Research, Texas A&M University • conversation
April 9, 2021 ~7 min

How do mRNA vaccines work – and why do you need a second dose? 5 essential reads

So far, most vaccines in the US are mRNA vaccines. These represent a new technology and are likely to take over the vaccine world. But how do they work? What are their weaknesses? Five experts explain.

Daniel Merino, Assistant Editor: Science, Health, Environment; Co-Host: The Conversation Weekly Podcast • conversation
March 16, 2021 ~6 min

The body's fight against COVID-19 explained using 3D-printed models

A biologist explains what proteins do in viruses, how they interact with human cells, how the vaccine delivers mRNA into the cell and how antibodies protect us.

Nathan Ahlgren, Assistant Professor of Biology, Clark University • conversation
Jan. 26, 2021 ~8 min

Your corner pharmacy – joining the front lines of the COVID-19 fight

Two pharmacists involved in COVID-19 vaccine preparation explain the role pharmacists are poised to play in expanding vaccine access.

Danielle Mayer, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Jefferson College of Pharmacy, Thomas Jefferson University • conversation
Jan. 25, 2021 ~7 min

COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time – but are these game-changers safe?

Because Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been developed in record time, many wonder whether companies cut corners or compromised safety.

William Petri, Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia • conversation
Nov. 20, 2020 ~6 min