The Difference between the New mRNA and a Normal Vaccine

Currently, we have the new mRNA vaccines developed and produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. There are others in various stages of use, development and/or production. But there are actually almost no normal vaccines developed (except the Sinovac Biotech vaccine), which worked (and still does) already for a long time to battle epidemics and pandemics since 1796. Isn’t that strange?

Immunity and ways to get immune

Before we talk about the differences between the mRNA and normal vaccines, let us see what they have in common. Next to the fact that they need to be injected in the bodies of the hosts, they have an additional thing in common: they make the host immune against a certain virus.

Immunity is the key and this will cause to halt any epidemic and pandemic. I believe that is the thing everyone agrees about. But with the new generation of vaccines, the way how immunity is triggered is a totally different ballgame and the key difference between the two types of vaccines.

It is out of scope of this article to explain in detail what a mRNA vaccine actually is and does. I would like to refer to two articles: An article explaining it in scientific detail and The Truth about mRNA vaccines.

The key difference between the mRNA and normal vaccines is the way how immunity is reached and another difference is what kind of immunity.

Strategy is the game

  1. Normal vaccines are teaching the immune system to fight against a virus when it enters the body. This means that when the coronavirus enters the host, the immune system attacks it right away and destroys the virus particles.
  2. The mRNA vaccines work more complicated. The mRNA vaccines are teaching the immune system not to allow the virus to enter a cell. When it tries, the immune system gets triggered and avoids such penetration.

Both ways makes the host immune, but the difference between the two approaches can be described as differences in strategies.

  1. The normal vaccine has the strategy of a strong border to avoid an invasion.
  2. The mRNA vaccine has the strategy to disallow the virus to use the resources of the host.

Both strategies leads to immunization of the host. The problem is perception and expectation.

Can the host be invaded by a virus with the normal vaccine?

No. The host does not get invaded and so not infected at all with a normal vaccine. The immune system of the host will get triggered when the virus particles enter the body and will destroy it.

There are exceptions though.

  1. When the host has a faulty or weak immune system, the virus will not be destroyed and can enter the host.
  2. If the virus mutates, even slightly, the immune system will not recognize the threat and will not get triggered and the virus can enter the host.
  • The first exception is particular for elderly, those with a weak immune system and those with underlying diseases like AIDS, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc.
  • If the host is healthy, the risk of entering the host is extremely low.
  • If a virus is mutated, the immune system doesn’t get triggered and enters the host.

Can the host be invaded by a virus with the mRNA vaccine?

Yes. This is done by design. The virus particles enter the host. The host is infected.

  1. But what the mRNA vaccine has trained the immune system to do is to disable the virus particles to grow within the host. The immune system will not destroy the virus particles, it ignores them.
  2. Virus particles need to enter a cell of the host in order to grow. Without growth, the virus particles will be expelled from the host gradually without making it sick.

Strategically speaking, the immune system doesn’t require much effort to block the ability of the virus particles to grow.

  • This is particular good for elderly, those with a weak immune system and those with underlying diseases like AIDS, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc. They don’t get sick.
  • With mutated viruses, but still have the same method of invading a cell, the immune system will still be triggered.
  • With viruses, which are fundamentally mutated, and do not have the same method of penetrating a cell, the immune system will not be triggered. The (weak) hosts get sick.
  • With the tendency of the coronavirus, which is not dangerous at all for healthy hosts, this particular behavior of the immune system is irrelevant, because the coronavirus is not lethal for a healthy host and doesn’t make the host seriously sick.
  • With healthy hosts, who did not get vaccinated at all, the immune system has enough time to create antibodies to destroy the virus particles. Those hosts developed immunity against the virus, which is similar as the immunity of a normal vaccine.

Perception and expectation of a vaccine

  • The mRNA vaccine makes a host immune against the coronavirus. That is a fact.
  • The mRNA vaccine does allow the host to be infected. Also this is a fact.
  • The mRNA vaccine is especially effective by design for elderly, those with a weak immune system and those with underlying diseases like AIDS, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc.
  • The mRNA vaccine does not do anything special for healthy hosts.
  • There is only one normal vaccine developed against the coronavirus, which is the Sinovac Biotech vaccine.

What society expects of a vaccine is that it will make hosts immune against the coronavirus, so that the pandemic will end when everyone or a large part of the population is immune.

There is a problem though with the expectation.

  1. With the use of a normal vaccine, immune hosts will destroy the virus particles and will not get infected.
  2. With the use of the mRNA vaccine, vaccinated hosts will not destroy the virus particles and they get infected, but not sick.

With the type of immunity described in point one, the hosts will not spread the infections to others. With the type of immunity number 2, the hosts will spread the virus particles to others. Or with other words, they will infect other hosts.

  1. If the society expects that the mRNA vaccine will make people immune against infection of the coronavirus, they are wrong.
  2. If the society expects that a normal vaccine will make the people immune against the infection of the coronavirus, they are right.

Except there is only one vaccine, which belongs to the group of normal vaccines, and that is the Sinovac Biotech vaccine.

With the expectation of making a host immune against the coronavirus, they need to do the logical thing:

  1. Use the mRNA vaccine for elderly, those with a weak immune system and those with underlying diseases like AIDS, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc.
  2. Use the Sinovac Biotech vaccine for everyone else, including children.

The efficacy of a vaccine

  • The Sinovac Biotech (normal) vaccine has an efficacy of 50.4% till 91.3%, according Sinovac Biotech, which avoids people getting infected and makes people immune.
  • The Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine has an efficacy of 52% till 95%, according Pfizer/BioNTech, but allows people get infected and makes people immune.

But what is efficacy?

  • “Efficacy” defines the performance of an intervention in an ideal context, in controlled circumstances.
  • “Efficiency” refers to the ability of doing something well and obtaining the best possible results with the minimum or null waste of time, money, energy or other resources.

In the context of the measurement if a vaccine is good or not, efficacy defines the performance of a vaccine in controlled circumstances. Efficiency in this context refers to the performance of a vaccine in real life.

Mutations of a virus

In order to survive as a species, a virus must reproduce itself through a host cell. It does that by attaching its surface proteins to the cell’s membrane and injecting its genetic material into the cell. This genetic material, either DNA or RNA, then carries with it the instructions to the cell’s machinery to make more viruses.

The host immune system can learn from these encounters and develop strategies to prevent reinfection. So to survive, viruses must adapt or evolve, changing its surface proteins enough to trick the host cell into allowing it to attach.

The genetic material inside the virus plays an enormous role in how quickly a virus mutates.

  • Viruses that replicate through DNA use the same mechanisms the host cell uses to create its own DNA, a process that includes a kind of “proof-reading” of the genetic material being copied. This means mutations occur more slowly.
  • RNA viruses, on the other hand, replicate without a similar proofreading activity, and as a result, ‘errors’ in the genetic coding occur.

It’s these ‘errors’ that allow RNA viruses, such as COVID-19, influenza and HIV, to mutate rapidly from host cell to host cell, and make it difficult for vaccines and natural immunities to keep up and prepare for new strains of the virus.

  1. A mutation of a virus does not mean that the virus causes more severe disease, but it might.
  2. Mutations could make the virus stronger at beating the immune system or resistant to drugs or vaccines, like what happened with the South African variant.
  3. Mutations could make the way how it invades a cell in a different way, or it might influence the way how it duplicates itself, like with the UK variant, California variant, Los Angeles variant and much more.
  4. Mutations might become more deadly, like with the Brazilian variant.
  5. How longer the virus infects people, how higher the chance that the virus mutates. Look at the European variants, and the many variants in the US.
  6. With high concentrated virus infections in the population, how higher the chance that the virus mutates

There are tens of thousands of mutations of the COVID-19 virus, but only a few survive and makes a difference.

And finally the last, but not the least about mutations. How longer the coronavirus can infect hosts, how more mutations will take place.

The strategy of using the mRNA vaccines to end the pandemic globally

If 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. It makes hosts immune.
  2. Infections of hosts continues as usual without getting sick.
  3. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus are extreme high and likely to occur.
  4. It will reduce the number of infections over time slowly, but surely.

If less than 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. Infections of hosts continues as usual without getting sick.
  2. Hosts who are not vaccinated, are likely to get infected, recovered and immune the natural way.
  3. It makes hosts immune.
  4. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus are extreme high and likely to occur.
  5. It will reduce the number of infections over time slowly, but surely.
  • This is not likely to occur. Currently, the world is busy with vaccinating its populations. Some countries received the mRNA vaccines and are in the process of vaccinating their people. But there are much more countries, which did not receive any mRNA vaccine at all.
  • Many remote areas on earth with populations will not likely be vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine.

The strategy of using the mRNA vaccines to end the pandemic locally

If 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. It makes hosts immune.
  2. Infections of hosts continues as usual without getting sick.
  3. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus are extreme high and likely to occur.
  4. The country or region will likely be reinfected by others coming from other countrie or areas without vaccinations.
  5. It will reduce the number of infections over time slowly, only when the rest of the world is immune.

If less than 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. Infections of hosts continues as usual without getting sick.
  2. Hosts who are not vaccinated, are likely to get infected, recovered and immune the natural way.
  3. It makes hosts immune.
  4. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus are extreme high and likely to occur.
  5. The country or region will likely be reinfected by others coming from other countrie or areas without vaccinations.
  6. It will reduce the number of infections over time slowly, only when the rest of the world is immune.

The strategy of using the normal vaccine to end the pandemic globally

If 100% of the population is immune because of the vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. It makes hosts immune.
  2. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus exists.
  3. It ends the pandemic globally.

If less than 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. Hosts who are not vaccinated, are likely to get infected, recovered and immune the natural way.
  2. It makes hosts immune.
  3. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus exists.
  4. It ends the pandemic globally.
  • This is not likely to occur. Currently, the world is busy with vaccinating its population. Most countries choose to use the mRNA vaccines to vaccinate their populations, even when there are problems with getting the vaccines for most of the countries.
  • Many remote areas on earth with populations will not likely be vaccinated with any vaccine.

The strategy of using the normal vaccine to end the pandemic locally

If 100% of the population is immune because of the vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. It makes hosts immune.
  2. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus exists.
  3. It ends the pandemic globally.

If less than 100% of the population is immune because of the mRNA vaccine or by natural immunity (caused by previous infection and recovery), then the following:

  1. Hosts who are not vaccinated, are likely to get infected, recovered and immune the natural way.
  2. It makes hosts immune.
  3. The risk of mutations of the coronavirus exists.
  4. It ends the pandemic globally.

A terrible mistake

In my opinion, it was a terrible mistake to rely only on one type of vaccine, the mRNA vaccine. The following way how vaccinations would be much more effective:

  1. Use the mRNA vaccines to vaccinate those with a weak immune system and those with underlying diseases like AIDS, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, etc.
  2. Use the normal vaccine to vaccinate the rest of the population.

In this way, the population will be protected against new infections, elderly and weak would be protected against becoming serious sick and the number of deaths will be dramatically reduced to maybe single digits.

The pandemic will be soon gone.

But with the exclusive use of the mRNA vaccine, the population is constantly open for new infections and the chance that the pandemic will be gone is less likely. What is likely is that the pandemic will rage for many years to come.

The use of green passports or vaccination passports is a very bad, ignorant and stupid idea

To summarize such bad idea: It’s like inviting the Trojan horse of the coronavirus. A person, vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine, can and is likely to be the carrier of the virus. Such person is able to infect others.

It is a really bad idea to give people full freedom without much restrictions, who are vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine. Because they will drive the number of infections up sky-high.

For countries and companies who want to avoid such situations, they can better rely on coronavirus tests for the time being.

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