Each person has their reason for volunteering

mRNA technology is changing the course of vaccine clinical trials. But developing a vaccine is only possible through the dedicated and tireless work of thousands of individuals and those who volunteer to take part in research.

For some, the choice is personal and based on a deep and often selfless desire to help their fellow human beings. For others it is the chance to be part of the advancement of science, particularly the recent breakthroughs around mRNA — which was given a global spotlight with the development of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

How do mRNA vaccines work?

Nurse showing man tablet | Pfizer clinical trials
Nurse showing man tablet | Pfizer clinical trials

How do mRNA vaccines work?

There are many different types of vaccines used to help prevent infections, all of which have the same goal: to train your immune system to recognize and defend against infectious disease agents, called pathogens, that cause disease.

  • mRNA vaccines do not contain any virus particles, meaning that they don't contain weakened, dead, or noninfectious parts of a virus or bacterium.
  • When designing an mRNA vaccine against a virus, scientists make a set of “instructions” for the cell to follow to make a protein to mimic one or more proteins – or antigens – found in a virus.
  • Your immune system then uses the “instructions” to recognize this antigen as a sign of a foreign invader and summons its defenses – like antibodies and T-cells – sounding the alarm to help defend against infection and illness.

The science behind mRNA

What's next for mRNA technology?

mRNA's moment

Pfizer’s work in the development and manufacturing of the world’s first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine crystalized the scientific power of mRNA technology. Pfizer is working to harness the power of mRNA to help address the greatest unmet needs for patients with breakthrough medicines and vaccines.

What diseases are we working on?

Pfizer is leading the way forward by exploring a wide range of possibilities for mRNA to prevent and treat serious, life-threatening diseases — including shingles, flu, even some rare diseases and cancers.

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