Mayo Clinic Q&A

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Episodes How messenger RNA vaccines work

vaccine laboratory researcher earing PPE and working with microscopic samples behind a shield

How messenger RNA vaccines work
Dec. 2, 2020

The first COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market are likely to be messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mRNA vaccines work by teaching cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Unlike many vaccines that use a weakened or inactivated form of a virus, mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, explains how mRNA vaccines work, gives a status update on the pandemic and answers listener questions.