Stanford scientists "opened" Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and released their sequences

Stanford scientists opened Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and released their sequences

A team of researchers analyzed Moderna's and Pfizer / Biontech's mRna vaccines and reconstructed the sequences of genetic material used, publishing the data on GitHub

(image: Pixabay) What's inside mRna vaccines against Covid-19? It is not just public opinion that has asked this. Scientists from Stanford also did it, and with the necessary permits analyzed the Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna preparations to verify, in particular, which mRna sequences were used. Result? Nothing different from the information contained in the documents that pharmaceutical companies have provided to regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Zero waste

Scientists Andrew Fire and Massa Shoura with the other colleagues they are keen to clarify that for their study no dose of vaccine was stolen or wasted, indeed. The team asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to keep the product vials that have run out in order to recover what little solution that may have remained and which would have been eliminated anyway. ok of the authorities, the researchers were thus able to process the scraps and sequence the mRna inside, finally publishing the alleged sequence on GitHub.

Secrets (little secrets) revealed

As far as concerns the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine analysis, the Stanford scientists found a perfect correspondence between the mRna sequence they reconstructed and the one already obtained in December 2020 by other colleagues (who also analyzed all the other components of the vaccine, among other things), which is the same that the pharmaceutical company reports in its official documents.

The reconstruction of the mRna sequence used by Moderna, on the other hand, is partial, the authors admit. However, they managed to obtain the entire coding region of the genetic material, i.e. the information for the production of the coronavirus spike protein.

Public is better

patent, but, the authors explain, the technology to produce them is not trivial, just as the technology for storage and distribution is not, and it is very unlikely that anyone will be able to make a vaccine at home.

Making public the sequences of genetic material used in mRna vaccines, on the other hand, is very important both for the public opinion and for the scientific community: they will be increasingly widespread among the population and it is crucial to know them for those who dedicate themselves to improving diagnostic tools and clinical studies, for example to distinguish true viral mRna from vaccine mRna during coronavirus monitoring studies in the population or not to confuse infected people with vaccinated people.

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