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Collected Item: “"The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight" - The Atlantic Monthly”

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"The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight" - The Atlantic Monthly

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With the development of two viable COVID-19 vaccines, it appears that the end of the pandemic appears to be at hand in the near future. In an article for the Atlantic Monthly magazine, journalist Sarah Zhang explains how these viable vaccines were developed using new technologies and how the resolution of the pandemic is now more dependent on policy choices made by political leaders, namely the President of the United States.

During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical professionals, epidemiologists, and vaccinologists were in the dark about the symptoms, treatability, and curability of the disease. After months of intense hands-on experience and in-depth genomic research, the companies Pfizer and Moderna have developed viable vaccine candidates. But these vaccines are different from typical vaccines: they are mRNA vaccines. This means that they work by injecting mRNA which encodes viral proteins, rather than injecting a weakened or dead SARS-CoV-2 virus.

mRNA vaccines, according to Zhang, were once thought to be potentially unviable, but the positive preliminary results of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines may mark the beginning of a new era of vaccine research and development. In the future, Zhang says, mRNA vaccines may be developed for the Zika virus or for personalized forms of cancer. However, a major drawback of mRNA vaccines is their fragility, as they require extremely cold temperatures to be preserved.

Now that these vaccines may be available for public use in the near future, it is up to the United States' political leadership to formulate policies to promote the vaccination of the populace and the mitigation of COVID-19 infections during the winter. According to Zhang, "Every infection we prevent now—through masking and social distancing—is an infection that can, eventually, be prevented forever through vaccines."

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#vaccine, #research, #innovation, #Moderna, #Pfizer, #mRNA vaccine, #end, #relief, #biotechnology

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Sarah Zhang

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