With the spread of the coronavirus, scientists are on the race to develop a vaccine for the virus. There are trials happening, such as Gilead's experimental antiviral remdesivir which was originally created to treat viruses such as Ebola, and has been promising in Mers and Sars which are both caused by the coronavirus. RNA vaccines have been most promising, as they are very speedy in development. These vaccines are made of messenger RNA strands, types of RNA (nucleic acid that is present in living cells) that are found in the cells. This is usually injected within the lipid nanoparticles (advanced non-viral gene delivery system that can deliver nucleic acids). Gilead's remdesivir is being tested on infected people to reduce the duration of the virus and make sure that the virus does not spread. The chemical diagram looks like this:
The FDA has recently approved that Gildea's Remdesivir can be used as an emergency treatment for the coronavirus. Remdesivir is part of a group known as the nucleoside analogue. The reason that nucleoside analogue and nucleotide analogues are so effective is because they resemble molecules known as nucleosides, such as cytidine, thymidine, uridine, guanosine, and adenosine. These are essential to building DNA and RNA which carries our genetic information. Small changes to the structure of this will ultimately prevent the virus from replicating itself.
CureVac, a German company that specializes in mRNA vaccines, says that they could make 10 million doses of vaccines of coronavirus. This company has 10 different versions of the vaccine. They all have tricks to make sure the RNA is more stable and make sure the human's responses are under control.
Scientists may have to consider a fast track way to get mRNA vaccines to people for the treatment of COVID-19. However, it may take two years for a vaccine to be approved.