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Tag: #covid19vaccine

What Are The Current COVID-19 Variants in November 2023?

In the United States, there are currently more than 10,374 patients hospitalized per week who tested positive for COVID-19. 15% of these patients are in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). As of November 4, the test positivity rate is 8.5%. When the test positivity is above 5%, this indicates that transmission is considered uncontrolled.

Due to the fact that many people are using home tests that are not reported through public health or are not testing at all, the official case counts underestimate the actual prevalence of COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2 without background.png

The dominant variant nationwide currently is HV.1, with 29% of cases, followed by EG.5, with 21.7% of cases and FL.1.5.1, with 9.3% of cases. HV.1 was documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in low numbers during the summer. However, now that the strain has the highest prevalence of any, it claims responsibility for more than a quarter of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of late October.

This strain is still a sub-variant of omicron, as is every strain that is in circulation. This strain is a descendant of EG.5, which is the second most common variant in the U.S.

HV.1 is highly infections. The emergence of HV.1 shows how the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is able to mutate and cause new, highly transmissible variants. The symptoms of HV.1 are very similar to those caused by recent variants of omicron.

Omicron S exhibits a heightened dependence on a significantly elevated level of host receptor ACE2 for effective membrane fusion compared to other variants. This characteristic may elucidate its unanticipated cellular tropism. The mutations not only reshape the antigenic configuration of the N-terminal domain of the S protein but also modify the surface of the receptor-binding domain in a manner distinct from other variants. This alteration aligns with its notable resilience against neutralizing antibodies. These findings imply that Omicron S has developed an exceptional capacity to elude host immunity through an abundance of mutations, albeit at the cost of compromising its fusogenic ability.

The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus introduces a distinctive challenge to the immune response system, primarily through mutations in the spike protein. These alterations in the antigenic configuration of the spike protein have raised concerns about the potential impact on the effectiveness of the immune response, particularly with regards to neutralizing antibodies generated from prior infections or vaccinations. The unique genetic makeup of Omicron may allow the virus to partially evade recognition by existing antibodies, potentially leading to breakthrough infections. Moreover, the variant’s influence on cellular immunity, mediated by T cells, is still under investigation, but T cell responses may play a crucial role in controlling infections even if antibody responses are compromised. The evolving nature of the virus underscores the importance of public health measures, including vaccination campaigns and booster shots, to adapt to the changing landscape of the pandemic and reinforce the immune system’s ability to respond to new variants like Omicron. Ongoing research is essential to comprehensively understand the implications of Omicron on the immune response and to inform effective strategies for mitigating its impact on public health.

Omicron stands out with approximately 50 mutations, surpassing the mutation count of any prior SARS-CoV-2 variant. Among these, 32 alterations are within the spike protein, the primary target for most vaccines aiming to neutralize the virus. As of December 2021, numerous mutations in Omicron were novel and distinct from those observed in earlier variants. By April 2022, the variant exhibited 30 amino acid changes, three small deletions, and one small insertion in the spike protein when compared to the original virus. Notably, 15 of these changes were situated in the receptor-binding domain (residues 319–541). As of December 2022, the virus featured additional modifications and deletions in various genomic regions. For instance, three mutations at the furin cleavage site, crucial for its transmission, were identified.

Health officials are not concerned with the latest variant. This is because it appears that HV.1 is very similar to EG.5, also known as “eris.” They are so similar that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not separate the two in its estimates. Globally, Eris is the most prominent strain, accounting for 46% of global cases as of late October, according to the WHO. This estimate also includes cases from HV.1 and another similar strain, HK.5.

HV.1 does not appear to cause more severe illnesses. However, it is expected that it brings the same high transmissibility that eris has. More cases will cause more variants with more mutations to occur.

Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, the dean of Rutgers School of Public Health, says that “the concern about the multitude of mutations is that it is likely and possible that there are versions of the virus that will be more evasive to the immunity that people have.”

However, the fact that HV.1 is so similar to EG.5, the updated coronavirus vaccines are expected to work on the new strain.

However, the shots’ advantages are limited by low uptake so far. Only about 7% of U.S. adults and 2% of children got the new COVID-19 vaccines during the first month it was available, according to national surveys. Despite the rollout being hampered by availability and insurance issues, U.S. health officials say those problems have been mostly resolved.

Surveys also found that almost 38% of adults and parents said that they probably or definitely will not get the shot for themselves or their children.

Hesitancy and vaccine fatigue are surely large parts of the uptake problem. When it comes to COVID-19, there is a general lack of urgency now that vaccines and treatment are widely available.

Halkitis says, “we’ve opened a window of opportunity for people who are resistant to vaccination to begin with to say, ‘Well, it doesn’t look so bad anymore, so I’m just going to bypass it.’ Just like how they react to the flu.”

According to CDC data, COVID-19 weekly hospital admissions have been decreasing or stagnant for nearly two months. However, these numbers remain elevated at more than 15,700 new admissions for the last full week in October, more than double summer’s low of about 6,300 in June.

With the upcoming cold winter months approaching, scientists are anticipating more COVID-19 infections as cold temperatures push people indoors.

Halkitis says that, “I expect there to be more rapid spread as is the case with any respiratory virus in the winter months.”

The CDC is predicting that a moderate COVID-19 wave will sweep over the U.S. according to its respiratory disease season outlook.

The CDC said in an update to its respiratory disease season outlook published last month that, “COVID-19 variants continue to emerge but have not resulted in rapid disease surges. We continue to anticipate a moderate COVID-19 wave, causing around as many hospitalizations at the peak as occurred at last winter’s peak.”

Scientists anticipate that the variants circulating in the U.S. will continue to change as the virus spreads and adapts to its environment.

Halkitis says, “The more we spread it to each other, the more it’s going to keep replicating in people’s bodies, the more likely it will be that mutations are going to occur.”

Based on these findings, I am not very concerned about COVID-19 mutations and variants. Having recently received the COVID-19 booster, I feel great and confident in the effectiveness of the vaccination. In my view, the pandemic no longer appears to be a national emergency. What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe the government should continue to declare the U.S. in a state of emergency due to COVID-19?

Personally, I commend the government for its handling of the pandemic. The implementation of vaccination campaigns, testing protocols, and treatment plans has been commendable. The availability of booster shots is a testament to the ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the virus and protect public health. I believe these measures have played a crucial role in mitigating the impact of the virus.

While I acknowledge that COVID-19 mutations and variants are still a consideration, the fact that I feel well after receiving the booster is reassuring. I think it’s essential to strike a balance between vigilance and a sense of normalcy. What’s your perspective on the current state of the pandemic and the government’s response?


COVID-19 Vaccine Going Retro?

Bottle with Coronavirus Vaccine and syringe with Novavax logo on white background
Have you ever wondered why the world started to use mRNA vaccines all of a sudden ever since the COVID-19 pandemic? Where did the traditional methods of vaccination go? This sudden shift in vaccine technology didn’t just happen by chance but was a result of years of scientific research and experiments. As the world faced an unprecedented pandemic, the traditional method of vaccination, while reliable, was slower and less effective to adapt to mutating virus than the mRNA vaccines, which is faster and more flexible when combating COVID-19 viruses. However, the traditional methods have returned! The new Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is an old-fashioned, protein-based approach to vaccination, a contrast to the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Novavax vaccine especially targets the SARS-CoV-2 variant XBB.1.5, which is a descendent of Omicron. 

Novavax’s Differences: A Protein-Based Approach
Unlike the mRNA vaccines, which use modified viral genetic materials to cause an immune response, Novavax relies on a more traditional approach which injects proteins that resemble SARS-CoV-2 directly into the body. This method has over 30 years of application in vaccines such as the Hepatitis B Vaccine. The Novavax Company also uses insect cells, such as moth cells, to produce SARS-CoV-2’s unique spike proteins. The reason why Novavax researchers use moth cells is because of its efficiency in producing spike proteins. They first select the desired genes that create the spike proteins, and then they put these kinds of genes into a baculovirus, which is basically an insect virus. The baculovirus will then infect moth cells and replicate rapidly inside them creating lots of spike proteins. Finally, the researchers will extract and use the spike proteins for vaccines. Additionally, Novavax’s formula also includes Matrix-M, a compound from Chilean Soapbark Trees, which will further enhance our immune system’s response to the spike protein.

Targeted Variants and Efficiency:                                                                    Novavax vaccines are developed specifically for the XBB.1.5 variant, and they are not optimized for the newer Eris and Pirola variants. However, vaccinologist Gregory Poland notes that all vaccinations, including Pfizer and Moderna, have all been “chasing the tail” of the emerging variants all over the pandemic, so Novavax is not alone in this situation. Additionally, all of the vaccine boosters seem to be able to provide some protection against new variants, but protein vaccinations are way slower to adapt to the new variants than mRNA vaccines. In terms of efficiency, according to infectious disease researcher Kirsten Lyke, Novavax stands on par with other mRNA vaccines. It is 55% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms and 31% effective at preventing infections, and this is very similar to the mRNA vaccines.

Protein Synthesis Elongation.png (mRNA coding protein)

Side Effects and Availability:
When it comes to side effects, the Novavax booster demonstrates a lower risk of myocarditis(inflammation of heart muscle) or pericarditis(inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) compared to mRNA vaccines, but of course, it is not entirely risk-free. It also tends to have fewer side effects like muscle fatigue and nausea post-vaccination. A huge advantage of the Novavax vaccine is its availability, it can be stored in a typical refrigerator, making it considerably more accessible than mRNA vaccines, which require subfreezing storage. The Novavax booster is now available in pharmacies across the country, with the CDC recommending having two doses that are eight weeks apart for unvaccinated people.

Which one should I get?
Both the protein vaccines and the mRNA vaccines can help you fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and neither is better than the other. The mRNA vaccine has a faster efficiency in preventing COVID and has a higher adaptability to new variants, while the Novavax vaccine uses a more familiar technology, has a more accessible storage requirement, and has a lower risk of side effects post-vaccination. But no matter which kind of vaccine you think is better, Lyke suggests that the most important thing is to “pick one and get it.”

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Connecting to AP Biology:
In AP Biology, we’ve learned about how our bodies fight bacterial and viral infections and specifically talked about how the spike proteins on SARS-CoV-2 work to attack our bodies. When our body first recognizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, white blood cells like Macrophages and Dendritic cells will engulf the virus, breaking it down into small pieces and displaying it to Helper T cells on their MHC proteins. The Helper T cells will then release Cytokines which will trigger both the Cell-mediated response and the Humoral response of your immune system. These responses will ultimately kill most of the bacteria/viruses in your body. Additionally, your immune system will then remember the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and if you ever get affected again, your immune system will immediately respond to it. Understanding how vaccines help your body defend against real viruses links directly to our studies on the human body’s defense mechanisms against foreign pathogens.

Leave a Comment!
COVID-19 is a years-long pandemic that still hasn’t ended today, I think it is really important for everyone to know how they can protect themselves through modern technologies and minimize the impact of the virus. I am also intrigued by how fast different vaccine technologies have evolved to help mankind to combat the virus. How do you feel about the re-introduction of protein-based vaccines like Novavax? Do you think this will change the public’s preferences on COVID-19 vaccines? Feel free to leave a comment below and we can discuss more about this topic! For more information on this post, go to for the latest research and updates.

Pockets Galore! Pockets of COVID-19 Antigens are Stuck in the Body and are Causing Long COVID

Do you know someone who has long COVID? It turns out that they may have pockets of SARS-CoV-2 hiding in their body! 

Researchers at University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus have found in a recent study that patients who suffer from long-term COVID symptoms (called PASC) have 100x more SARS-CoV-2 specific T cells than those who have recovered fully from the virus.  This discovery suggests that the virus itself lingers in the body, not that symptoms continue even after the virus has left.  

This evidence will allow doctors and researchers to shift the mentality surrounding treatment of PASC, as prevPaxlovidiously the only option was to treat exclusively the symptoms.  The shift has led them to antiviral medications (such as Paxlovid) and vaccines, both of which use adaptive immunity to their advantage.  The study found that the body’s natural adaptive immune response focused on systemic inflammation, pulmonary symptoms and reduced lung function because of the high levels of T-cells in the body.  The T-cells are very important in the primary stages of the infection because they help identify and destroy infected cells, however after controlling the infection, it creates longer symptoms, along with continued shortness of breath and lung damage.

About 20-30% of patients infected with COVID developed PASC.  Over the course of over 500 million COVID infections, healthcare systems are pressed to support 150 million patients with lasting symptoms, so a solution is a priority for physicians.  The upcoming solutions’ primary goal is to clear the virus from the body entirely so that T-cell levels decrease back to a normal level.  

In addition to identifying the higher levels of T-cells, the researchers found that the higher the level of SARS-CoV-2 specific T-cells there were in the body, the higher the inflammation levels there were in the body, showing that the T-cells play a role in creating lasting inflammation associated with PASC.  

The next step for the researchers is to continue to do research on the differences in lung cells between people with PASC and people who have not had COVID.  They claim that this research is vital because the “kitchen sink symptomatic treatments have not solved the problem” (Palmer).  

Fears of a Winter COVID-19 Surge

         In March 2020, our planet was invaded, as we were threatened by the very initial strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This event was commonly referred to as the Coronavirus pandemic. Little did we know then that there would also be several increasingly virulent variants facing us in the immediate future. This highly infectious and adaptive virus forced virtually everyone on Earth to quarantine and patiently wait for a worldwide team of multi-disciplined scientists and medical practitioners to develop an approvable and effective vaccine. For at least a year, we sat before our TV sets and awaited the daily numbers of the newly infected, hospitalized, and deaths. Populations throughout the world were being sent to hospitals in an effort to survive this dangerous virus. The hospitals and healthcare workers across the globe were stretched way beyond capacity, and the untold emotional effects on care providers, in itself, reached epidemic proportions.

SARS-CoV-2 without background
The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters and attacks our lungs through our normal respiratory process. The virus causes our lungs to become inflamed, making it challenging for us to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide. These viral effects made it difficult for middle-aged and older adults to cope and often left them vulnerable to the disease. Once the vaccines were advancing to a stage of government approval and being administered to the general population, we began to see statistically significant improvements in the overall ability of our immune systems to “take on” the virus and win the battle. As people were receiving the vaccine, most people were choosing the mRNA vaccines. These vaccines teach your cells to produce a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein that triggers an immune response to build antibodies. A spike protein is a specialized combination of amino acids designed to help the immune system know how to respond to the spike protein. In this way, one begins to build immunity to COVID-19, which results in mitigating the adverse effects of the virus or, in some cases, not succumbing to the effects of the virus. Once it does its job, the mRNA quickly breaks down, and the body clears it away in a few days.
All vaccines leave the body with a supply of T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future. Since COVID-19 is highly adaptive, as evidenced by the emergence of its numerous variants, biomedical researchers have to quickly produce a new vaccine to prevent a new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant from spreading.

Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (2021) F (cropped) 2
New concerns are now arising in the medical community with the threat of yet another new variant strand of SARS-CoV-2 emerging onto the scene as winter approaches. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we could be looking at two new omicron subvariants becoming increasingly more dominant in the United States, raising fears that they could start another surge of COVID-19 infections. The new subvariants known as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are raising concerns because it appears to be proficient at evading the defenses of currently available vaccination formulations. According to the CDC, in recent weeks, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 has quickly risen to 44% of all new infections nationwide and is approaching nearly 60% in some parts of the country, such as New York and New Jersey. Additionally, this viral landscape takes on even greater significance as we seem to be in a “viral trifecta” with the more common Influenza (flu) Virus and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) taking the stage front and center this Fall and Winter season. Perhaps the best advice is to see your health care practitioner and see if a vaccination or booster shot is right for you!

Should EVERYONE Get Boosted? Young Men & COVID Vaccines

COVID-19 is perhaps the most politicized issue in medicine, yet the scientific community is generally in agreement that most, if not all, people should get vaccinated; however, recent studies have shown that for young people (specifically young men) the booster has some cardiac risks. These men are at risk for myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

Scientists are concerned with the longHeart rotating.gif-term effects this has on young men, and they must weigh the risks of protecting people from COVID, and eliminating harmful long-term effects of the vaccine. Jane Newburger, a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital has studied patients suffering from post-vaccine myocarditis. She says, “I am a vaccine advocate, I would still vaccinate the children.”

Conversely, Michael Portman, another doctor studying patients with myocarditis, is more skeptical. He said: “I don’t want to cause panic, but I crave more clarity on the risk-benefit ratio.” Although the rates of post-vaccine myocarditis are minimal, they are still concerning. The rate was 1 in 6700 for 12-15-year-old boys and 1 in 8000 for 16 and 17-year-old boys. For the vast majority of patients, short-term myocarditis resulting from the COVID vaccine was treatable. Scientists still don’t know why some people experience myocarditis after taking the vaccine, but they have some theories.

Jeremy Asnes, chief of pediatric cardiology at Yale Medicine and co-director of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Heart Center gives insight on the topic: “Though rare, myocarditis can be caused by an immune response to a vaccine such as smallpox vaccine, which was the most successful vaccine in history.” The general consensus among scientists is that they don’t know the reason it’s happening, but the inflammatory reaction is concerning none the less.

Young boy receiving a vaccine (48545943301).jpgOverall, the medical community continues to recommend the coronavirus vaccine to people of all ages. A new study published in the American Heart Association journal indicates that the risk of myocarditis from COVID-19 is higher than the risk of myocarditis from the vaccine for the vast majority of people. Specifically, the risk from COVID is 11x higher than the risk from the vaccine.The exception in question is young men, but for now, scientists still believe that the safest choice for everyone is to take the vaccine; however, you should be aware of the rare side effects that can result from taking the vaccine so that you can stay vigilant after you take yours!! I encourage you to leave a comment on this post. I would love to read your feedback!

AP Bio side note 🙂

Myocarditis is related to AP Biology. Since Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, to determine the connection between AP Bio and this article, we can examine how myocarditis is resolved in patients. In order to fix inflammation, dying cells are engulfed in the coated by phagocytosis and later transOxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.jpgported by the vesicle to lysosomes that can digest them. This process is controlled by phagocytic receptors which signal to the cell that the particles can and should be engulfed.

I chose this topic to write about because I was interested in learning about the COVID vaccine. Coronavirus was such an integral part of my life experience, and the vaccine allowed my life to get closer to normal. I feel as if I owe the vaccine that changed my life and kept me safe the courtesy of learning about it.

The Science Behind COVID Tests

My family and I have had a lot of questions about the COVID test, such as if I take the COVID vaccine and do a test, will it come positive? Well to answer a question like this we need information on how tests work.

Lets start with the basics:

There are two types of molecular tests, antigen tests and nucleic acid amplification tests. Rapid tests are known as Antigen Tests while PCR tests are known as nucleic acid amplification tests. I will talk about PCR tests first. The PCR tests test for DNA. However, the COVID-19 genetic code is actually RNA. So how do PCR tests pick up positive or negative results?

Test de antígenos Covid 3

When your swab of DNA is sent back to the lab, they will isolate RNA and DNA with the process called gel electrophoresis. After isolating the RNA, it is mixed with enzymes (DNA polymerase and reverse transcriptase), DNA building blocks, cofactors, proves and primers. The RNA is transcribed into DNA by the reverse transcriptase. This transcription creates a complimentary DNA. The goal is to isolate the DNA now, and the DNA polymerase does so. The enzyme breaks up the RNA and isolates the complimentary DNA. That DNA is duplicated in order to amplify the molecule. Remember that this DNA is duplicated from the virus RNA.

To amplify the DNA for the equipment to read, the DNA is first heated, denatured, in order to separate the DNA strands. When cooled, primers and probes bind to the DNA strands. The DNA polymerase assembles new DNA strands from the DNA building blocks and when fully reconstructed, it has been successfully amplified. This is done repeatedly with the RNA and thus, creates many complimentary DNA’s ready to amplify.

If SARS-CoV-2 complementary DNA is present in the sample, primers copy the infected regions while probes, signaling proteins, stick to it and release a visual signal read by the equipment. Because there are millions of amplified DNA, there will be lots of signals being produced by the probes. If their is no virus, the probes do not stick and this no signal release and a negative result shows. Thanks to the power of signaling and cell communication, lab instruments can pick up on it and give us a positive or negative result.

The rapid test works in a very different way. Antigen rapid test takes about 15 minutes. The goal is to detect the spike protein of the coronavirus. The liquid drops onto the droplet. Antibodies are on the test pad, with three sets.

The testing pad, we’ll call pad, consists of the location for liquid drops, and a C and T line. At each segment of the pad there are different antibodies. Those antibodies will bind to the spike protein as well as the other antibodies. When the liquid is dropped in, capillary flow allows the liquid to move down the pad. The first antibodies will attach to the virus, which then move down the pad. Then the antibody will bind to primary and secondary antibody, not the virus. The combining of antibodies create the line which results in the positive or negative outcome.


To answer my question, no. The PCR and rapid tests should not test positive if one has taken the vaccine recently. This is because both tests are checking for active viruses and polymerase. Not immunity.


If you feel any symptoms take a rapid test, sometimes it comes negative when you really have COVID and that’s because at the early stages of COVID development in the body, there will not be enough active viruses going around.  But that does not mean you are not contagious, please be safe and stay healthy!

Protein Responsible for Increasing the Severity of COVID-19

The CDC reported that the first human COVID-19 case, originating in Wuhan, China, to enter the United States was on January 20th, 2020 via DNA samples. Present-day, COVID-19 has affected nearly three hundred million people worldwide according to the New York Times. Now, one would assume that this virus would have the same effects from person to person, yet it actually produces drastically different effects depending on the victim’s body composition. Some people “develop mild or no symptoms upon infection,” whereas others, “develop severe, life-threatening disease” (University Of Kent). But what exactly causes this alteration of symptoms from patient to patient? Well, researchers at the University of Kent have scrutinized through their resources to determine a possible source for this predominant world health issue.

Protein CD47 PDB 2JJS

As we’ve learned throughout units two and three, protein structure is pivotal for determining the protein’s function, and proteins as a whole are what viruses, for example, SARS-CoV-2, consist of on the molecular level. SARS-CoV-2 transmits itself through our body by binding its spike proteins to our healthy cell’s receptors, which then emits a signal to the cell, ultimately altering the genetic code of the cell, changing its function. One protein synthesized from our cells is called ‘CD47,’ a cellular surface protein, which, in broad terms, “tells circulating immune cells called macrophages not to eat these cells” (  Once SARS-CoV-2 cells begin to synthesize this surface protein, the cells become ‘protected’ from our immune system, enabling the cells to continuously reproduce and flood the body without any interference from the macrophage and other immune system anti-virus functions. Virus-synthesized CD47 on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 cells allows for the production of higher volume of virus, ultimately resulting in a more severe disease infection.

Viruses-08-00106-g001According to the researchers at the University of Kent, CD47 is far more prevalent among older people, which may provide a reasonable explanation as to why they typically exhibit severer symptoms compared to those of younger people. One condition that high levels of CD47 typically produce is high blood pressure, which forces the body to deviate by over 1o mm Hg systolic and 10 mm Hg diastolic, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure, specifically caused by CD47, puts people ” [at] a large risk factor for COVID-19 complications such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease”(University of Kent). The researcher’s data demonstrates that both age and virus-synthesized CD47 greatly contributes to more severe COVID-19 by blocking a fully functioning immune response which increases tissue and organ damage.

COVID-19 vaccines (2021) AThis finding should provoke optimism within the scientific community, understanding what causes differing symptoms-severe or less severe- is incredibly useful for combatting both the virus’s spread and severity from person to person. Hopefully, scientists will be able to further utilize CD47 research to save lives of people who are at higher risk of experiencing more severe COVID-19 symptoms.



The COVID-19 Vaccine: How, What, and Why

We have all seen the news lately – COVID, COVID, and more COVID! Should people get the vaccine? What about the booster shot? Are vaccines more harmful than COVID-19? Will my child have birth-defects? This blog post will (hopefully) answer most of your questions and clear up a very confusing topic of discussion!

Discovery of monoclonal antibodies that inhibit new coronavirus(Wuhan virus)

First off, what are some potential effects of COVID-19? They include, but are certainly not limited to, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, loss of taste, fever, organ damage, blood clots, blood vessel problems, memory loss, hearing loss tinnitus, anosmia, attention disorder, and the list goes on. So, our next question naturally is: what are the common effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine? On the arm that an individual receives the vaccine the symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling. Throughout the body, tiredness, a headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea can be experienced. To me, these effects seem much less severe than COVID-19’s!

COVID-19 immunizations begin

Now that we have covered effects, you are probably wondering what exactly the COVID-19 Vaccine does – will it make it impossible for me to get COVID-19? Will I have superpowers? Well, you may not get superpowers, but your cells will certainly have a new weapon, which we will discuss in the next paragraph! The COVID-19 Vaccine reduces “the risk of COVID-19, including severe illness by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated,” reduces the overall spread of disease, and can “also provide protection against COVID-19 infections without symptoms” (asymptomatic cases) (Covid-19 Vaccines Work).

So, how does the vaccine work? Many people think that all vaccines send a small part of the disease into us so our cells learn how to fight it at a smaller scale. However, this is not the case with the COVID-19 vaccine! As we learned in biology class, COVID-19 Vaccines are mRNA vaccines which use mRNA (genetic material that tells our cells to produce proteins) wrapped in a layer of fat to attach to cells. This bubble of fat wrapped mRNA enters a dendritic cell through phagocytosis. Once inside of the cell, the fat falls off the mRNA and the strand is read by ribosomes (a protein maker) in the cytoplasm. A dendritic cell is a special part of the immune system because it is able to display epitopes on MHC proteins on its surface.


After being made by the ribosomes, pieces of the viral surface protein are displayed on the surface of the dendritic cell (specifically the MHC protein), and the cell travels to lymph nodes to show this surface protein. At the lymph nodes, it shows the epitope to other cells of the immune system including T-Helper Cells. The T-Helper Cells see what they’re dealing with and create an individualized response which they relay to T-Killer cells that attack and kill virus-infected cells. This individualized response is also stored in T-Memory cells so that if you do end up getting COVID-19, your body will already know how to fight it! The T-Helper Cells additionally gather B-Plasma cells to make antibodies that will keep COVID-19 from ever entering your cells. T-Helper Cells are amazing! As you can see, the vaccine never enters your nucleus, so it cannot effect your DNA! No birth-defects are possible!

You are now equipped with so much information and able to disregard many common misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine! Additionally, you can make an educated decision about whether or not you should get the vaccine. I think yes! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment them and I will answer. Thanks for reading!


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