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Technology Review: What are the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine ingredients?

December 9, 2020

GreenLight Biosciences helped explain the vaccine ingredients for a Covid-19 vaccine to Technology Review.

Credit: MS TECH | GETTY

GreenLight Biosciences spoke to Technology Review about the vaccine ingredients for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, including messenger RNA. An extract from the article is below:

Reading the ingredient list is like looking at the side of a cereal box, except that you need a degree in organic chemistry to understand it. We got help from various scientists and biotech entrepreneurs [including Greenlight Biosciences] to understand what each of the ingredients does and make some educated guesses about others.

Pfizer’s vaccine is the first on the market that consists of actual genetic information from a virus in the form of messenger RNA, or mRNA, a type of molecule whose usual job is to transport copies of genetic instructions around a cell to guide the assembly of proteins.

The mRNA in the vaccine, to be sure, isn’t quite the same as the stuff in your body. That’s good, because a cell is full of defenses ready to chop up RNA, especially any that doesn’t belong there. To avoid that, what’s known as “modified nucleosides” have been substituted for some of the mRNA building blocks.


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