What is SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, & Biology 101 to understand the new mRNA vaccines

  • Updated:1 year ago
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This is a work-in-progress. I want to keep adding to these sections as I learn about it, and share with my friends & family once it’s completed as of today, – it is NOT YET COMPLETED – This is just what I have done so far.

This is part of a series. Click here to read a summary.

  • Part 1: What is SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, & Biology 101 to understand the new mRNA vaccines
  • Part 2: What is the difference between the available vaccines & their potential problems
  • Part 3: Risks vs Benefits of taking a vaccine
  • Part 4: If you decide to get the jab (Preparing your body before & after vaccination & what to watch-out for)
  • Part 5: If you decide not to get the jab (Ways to protect yourself if you aren’t getting the jab – health & legal)
  • Part 6: Health Professionals & Virologists who are not getting the jab (and their reasons)
  • Part 7: Health Professionals who are getting the jab (and their reasons)
  • Part 8: Political concerns (Vaccine Policies, Human Rights Violations & more)
  • Part 9: What Skeptics are saying (Medical corruption, coverups, censorship, Coronavirus Hysteria, corporate interests, Pandemic Preparedness conferences, and more)

Part One: SARS-CoV-2 Research for Family & Friends [Part 1] (This post)
(What is SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, & Biology 101 to understand the new mRNA vaccines)

What is SARS-CoV-2?

There are four human coronaviruses that occur seasonally and generally cause the common cold. And there are 3 that the World Health Organization deemed as a pandemic:

  1. SARS: (2002)
  2. MERS: (2012)
  3. SARS-CoV-2: (2019-20)  (popularly known as the Coronavirus or Covid-19)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) is “caused” by SARS-CoV-2.

Initially termed by W.H.O. as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and later renamed to SARS-CoV-2 as genetic analysis identified strong similarities with the earlier SARS coronavirus.

  • S= Severe
  • A= Acute
  • R= Respiratory
  • S= Syndrome

  • CO= Corona
  • VI= Virus
  • D= Disease
  • 19= Indicating the year it was discovered, (December 2019)

But this is far more fitting & it’s all I can see now: 👀

  • Certificate
  • Of
  • Vaccination
  • ID

But we’ll get into that later, let’s first understand exactly what we’re told it is first.

Most Covid-19 infections cause a fever as the immune system fights to clear the virus. While most people recover at home with a bad flu (or not even realize they have been infected and carry on as normal), in severe cases, the immune system can overreact and start attacking lung cells. The lungs become obstructed with fluid and dying cells, making it difficult to breathe. A small percentage of infections can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, and possibly death.

Common symptoms are the same as the flu which can include headache, loss of smell and taste, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, muscle pain, sore throat, fever, diarrhoea, and breathing difficulties.

Even now in May 2021, it is still unproven where SARS-CoV-2 originated.

The theories being:

  • the Wuhan lab
  • Wuhan seafood market
  • bats to humans
  • bats via pangolins to humans
  • bats to other animal species to humans
  • that it has already existed (as the cause of pneumonia) and only now been able to be identified
  • that it is part of an agenda of some kind (either control, corporate financial interests, depopulation, or the great reset)
  • that it’s just the normal seasonal flu
  • and many more – from 5G illness, to religious theories, to deliberately-created, to getting everyone ‘chipped’ or ‘monitored’, and so on.

During the course of collating this research, almost everything I’ve found, surprisingly (considering the censorship on the discussion about the origin) points to the original theory – that it was most likely leaked from the Wuhan lab – and that yes, COVID-19 does exist (that’s another theory that’s been swimming around that was almost easy to believe in Australia), but we’ll get into why I am now convinced it was leaked from a lab and that it’s real later, for now, let’s learn about COVID-19 and the new types of vaccines.

How SARS-CoV-2 infects the cell:

  1. SARS-CoV-2 infects the cell by fusing its oily membrane with the membrane of the cell. Once inside, the coronavirus releases a snippet of genetic material called RNA.
  2. The infected cell reads the RNA as its own RNA, and begins making proteins that will keep the immune system at bay and help assemble new copies of the virus.
  3. Each infected cell can release millions of copies of the virus before the cell finally breaks down and dies. The viruses may infect nearby cells, or end up in droplets that escape the lungs.

  • Viruses are the only known life-forms that can use RNA as their genetic material. To propagate itself, each virus makes a copy of the information in its genetic material to pass onto its ‘daughter’ viruses. Some viruses contain the machinery to make copies of their RNA. 
  • There is new research that has just been released (Mar 2021) (01) that also shows how the spike protein itself actually damages cells – which will also be explained in a later part.

1 Min overview:

7 Min overview: (But annoyed at the ventilator comment as it has been shown that most people who go on the ventilators do not recover, and yet this video says it saves lives… so that aside.. I’m including this video because it actually shows the virus under a microscope (in first 10 seconds)

Basic Nutshell of an mRNA vaccine

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Instead, it gives instructions for our cells to make a piece of what is called the “spike protein.” 

SARS-CoV-2 initiates cell entry upon spike protein binding to human ACE2 receptors: targeting the spike protein is a powerful strategy to neutralize virus infection. Source

We know that SARS-CoV-2 has spikes on the surface called spike proteins, which is the business-end of this virus when it comes to infection because it is how the virus enters human cells (through the ace2 receptor). The spike protein is the focus of most COVID-19 vaccines because it is the ‘key’ to getting in our cells, and so the goal of these vaccines was to create antibodies against the ‘spike protein’. 

How do the new SARS-CoV-2 vaccines differ from Traditional vaccines?

The vaccine’s aim is to decrease death, hospitalization, and severe symptoms, so that if you do get infected, it might feel more like a cold than something you would get hospitalized for. 

It’s added-protection that should reduce the severity of reactions when infected, but will not give you immunity or full protection. In other words, you may still contract COVID-19, but hopefully, because you will have created antibodies that already recognize the spike protein, it won’t be as severe as those who have not had the vaccine.
(More about this in the “potential problems with these new vaccines section)

In traditional vaccines, they use a dead or weakened version of the virus and our cells mount a defence by creating specific antibodies, but traditional vaccines need time (years) because you have to grow the virus in a culture. 

So with the world’s ‘urgency’ on needing a vaccine, they are using a new kind of vaccine technology using Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (a.k.a Messenger RNA or mRNA) – something which has never yet been used in an approved vaccine (but has been studied and used in clinical trials for over a decade).

mRNA is an RNA molecule in our cells that encodes a chemical “blueprint” for the synthesis of a protein. Each piece of mRNA is a unique set of instructions that tells your cells how to assemble a specific protein by putting together building blocks (amino acids) in a certain order.

mRNA vaccines take advantage of that protein-building process to ‘trigger’ an immune response by creating a piece of the virus’s own genetic material. 

Unlike traditional vaccines, they do not need to use the actual virus. The genetic code for COVID-19 has been isolated and sequenced, and the vaccines will use mRNA to instruct our cells synthetically instead of biologically (note: some of the mRNA vaccines differ – see vaccine differences in part two). So instead of going through the normal process of growing a virus and purifying it for human use, they instead can instruct the cells how to make copies of the spike protein, synthetically.

The following video is out-dated but so far it’s been the best explanation of the differences between the different types of vaccines (video was published before the vaccines were introduced to the public in October 2020). I will update with a new video whenever I find a more recent one that explains it just as well. Please ignore “Merck’s” vaccine later in the video as they have taken that one off the market so it’s information is obsolete now (May 2021).

Why some mRNA vaccines don’t use a live virus

Some vaccine developers will use Messenger RNA to produce an immune response synthetically rather than biologically. These vaccines use a copy of the chemical mRNA and transfects molecules of synthetic RNA into immunity cells (explained in more detail later), which can be created in a manufacturing process quickly, and similar to the technique that the virus is using to defer the immune system response while it replicates; it will instruct the cells to replicate the protein with a ‘‘fake’ spike protein, to create an immune response and cellular memory, so that if infected by the ‘real’ virus later, the body will recognize the shape (the spike protein), and generate an immune response faster (before it has a chance to replicate into the millions). 

This new technology doesn’t need a live virus to work. Chinese Scientists (02) sequenced the code for SARS-CoV-2 and released it publicly on January 11, 2020. With this sequence, vaccine providers can use it to create customized-mRNA instructions based on the code, rather than the actual live virus itself:

The ‘fake spike protein’ (created by the vaccine’s instructions) itself is not infectious because it is not the live virus. The protein will trigger our immune response because the body will recognize it as ‘foreign’ and will trigger all the immune responses that a regular infection would.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Sequence: (03)

RNA-based vaccines also eliminate the need to work with the actual virus which is much more costly and requires special labs, protective equipment, and everything needs to be bio-contained so that no one gets infected. 

Why we haven’t seen mRNA vaccines before

They have worked on mRNA for over a decade, but this will be the first time that it’s been approved for ’emergency’ use outside of clinical trials because mRNA is a tricky molecule: 

Firstly, it’s unstable and degrades very rapidly. Vaccines are injected intramuscularly (into our muscles) because a vaccine injected directly into the bloodstream is vulnerable to destruction because of the other immune cells which will eradicate the vaccine before it gets an opportunity to do its job.  (more on this in the vaccine differences). 

So the reason they haven’t used mRNA in vaccines yet is because the molecule degrades quickly, and because it’s breaking down so fast, you won’t get enough of that viral spike protein made to generate an immune response. (This will make more sense later in the differences).

The other problem is that the human immune system does not like foreign RNA or DNA, and would attack it straight away. 

To get around this problem, in 2005, researchers developed ways to stabilize mRNA molecules using a lipid envelope. and get it into the cells, they have found a way to formulate it with lipid nanoparticles which will encase the mRNA to deliver it to the cells. (Will explain this better in Part Two: the differences between vaccines)

Despite the work that has been done to stabilize mRNA vaccines by storing them in small lipid envelopes, the mRNA molecules remain relatively delicate. This is why some of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines must be stored at much colder temperatures than traditional vaccines. The Moderna vaccine is to be stored between -15°C to -25°C, while the Pfizer vaccine requires storage at an ultralow -60°C to -80°C (in comparison to the Oxford–AstraZeneca which is stored between 2°C to 8°C). The more extreme the temperature, the more difficult it is to maintain, and the more critical it is to monitor the environment with sensitivity and accuracy.

Quick Biology Lesson

So before we can understand how each of the new vaccines operate, we need to brush-up on our high-school basic biology, or it will go whoosh – over our heads – so here’s a quick 101 on what we need to know:

Genome, Chromosomes, DNA, Genes, Bases, Codons

The simplified version from a video I watched from a student compares all these terms to a book which I found helpful (as a non-biology-expert) to grasp the concept:

Book = Genome
Chapters of the book = Chromosomes
Sentences & Paragraphs = DNA
Paragraphs that contain “instructions for making proteins” = Genes
Letters = Bases
Letters combined = Codon.

DNA is our “genetic instruction manual for a cell and is found inside a special area of the cell called the nucleus. The nucleus contains what is known as the Genome. The Genome contains all the information to make a human-being. 

DNA molecules are tightly packed in the cell, and the ‘packaged form’ of DNA is called a chromosome. The Genome is split between 23 pairs of Chromosomes. Each chromosome has a copy (so there are actually 46 chromosomes in total: 23 pairs – one copy from your father, and the other from your mother). 

Each Chromosome contains your DNA tightly packaged around proteins called histones

Genes are made up of DNA. Some genes act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. To date, only 3% of our DNA is known to build proteins, some of the other 97% is known to regulate stuff in your body, and the rest is “unknown”. 

During DNA replication, DNA unwinds so it can be copied. At other times in the cell cycle, DNA also unwinds so that its instructions can be used to make proteins and for other biological processes. But during cell division, DNA is in its compact chromosome form to enable transfer to new cells.

DNA has four Bases ‘A C T G’ and the DNA uses three of these Bases to form Codons. RNA is similar to DNA because it also contains four Bases, but unlike DNA, only has a single strand.

What we need to know about RNA before getting into the way the vaccines work:

RNA, Messenger RNA, Transcription

Trying to get our non-scientific heads around RNA has been confusing because anything we read that is referring to RNA, could perhaps be talking about a different aspect of it. 

  1. RNA is an enzyme that is already in our cells, produced by our own DNA.
  2. Also, SARS-CoV-2 is encoded in RNA
  3. And, ‘Messenger RNA’ is a single-stranded molecule of RNA that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene
  4. Also, the new vaccines are ‘usingMessenger RNA to deliver the new instructions to our cells (teaching our cells how to make a piece of a protein that triggers an immune response).
  5. Also, when referring to something as an ‘RNA vaccine’ or a ‘messenger RNA vaccine’, it means the same thing.

Confused yet? It gets more confusing…. How’s this explanation?

Messenger RNA contains a copy of the genetic data contained on a strand of DNA. DNA contains the summation of the primary genetic information of a cell, and is stored in the cell’s nucleus. mRNA functions to transport that data out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm of a cell where proteins can be assembled. The mRNA is an RNA version of the gene that leaves the cell nucleus and moves to the cytoplasm where proteins are made. During protein synthesis, an organelle called a ribosome moves along the mRNA, reads its base sequence, and uses the genetic code to translate each three-base triplet, or codon, into its corresponding amino acid.

Whoosh! Over my head. So let’s break it down to hopefully make sense of it:

What we know is that the genetic material for SARS-CoV-2 is encoded in ribonucleic acid (RNA) which causes the protein synthesis machinery in humans to mistake it for ‘RNA produced by our own DNA’. 

Separate to that… we need to understand that RNA is also produced by our own DNA:

When a gene is switched-on, an enzyme called RNA polymerase attaches to the start of the gene. It moves along the DNA, making a strand of messenger RNA out of free Bases in the nucleus. The DNA code determines the order in which the free bases are added to the messenger RNA. This process is called transcription. Transcription is the process of copying a gene from the DNA into mRNA(A little pre-exposure to the term ‘transcription’ will be helpful in understanding the difference between vaccine variants later in this document).

This illustrational video from 2011 explains our bodies’ own messenger RNA

This “simple” video from 2021 explains how the vaccines will use our bodies’ own messenger RNA to create a ‘fake’ spike protein: (Other than the misinformation at the end about side-effects, it explains in a very good basic way what this whole post tried to explain):

So nutshell summary:

Problem: For a virus to spread, it must find a way into a cell, but penetrating a cell isn’t easy – you need some kind of special pass. Viruses have ways of tricking cells into unlocking the door.

Coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2’s genome is made of RNA (as are most viruses) and RNA viruses mutate more easily than DNA viruses and can easily develop resistance to our immune system’s attempts to find and stop them.

SARS-CoV-2 tricks its way into our cells and hijacks one of our molecular machinery to make copies of itself.

In October 2020, Researchers got a better understanding about SARS-CoV-2, in that it can exit infected cells through the lysosome (they knew already that it was exiting the cell, they just didn’t know how). Normally the lysosome destroys viruses and other pathogens before they leave the cells, but SARS-CoV-2 deactivates the lysosome’s disease-fighting-machinery, allowing it to freely spread throughout the body. (04) (This is important to remember later, as it will help you understand how the alternatives-to-the-vaccines operate).

SARS-CoV-2 is an ‘enveloped’ virus, which would normally be a good thing because their envelopes are vulnerable to degradation, but this one is more stable because of its spikes, which shield it from direct contact. Viruses use proteins that are sitting on our cells surfaces as docking stations, and normally attach to cells in our upper respiratory tract (nose & throat), but because of its spikes, and because it can disable the lysosome’s defence system, SARS-CoV-2 can latch onto cells in the lower respiratory tract (lung and bronchial cells) as well as the heart, kidney, liver, brain, gut lining, stomach, or blood vessels).

In March 2021, researchers also discovered that the spike protein itself does damage. More on that in a later section.

Ok this nutshell summary is getting a bit lengthy! Sorry. Let’s get straight to the mRNA vaccine nutshell:

  1. mRNA is “coding” or the ‘building instructions’ for proteins in our bodies (how our bodies already create proteins)
  2. mRNA vaccines are ‘hacking’ that system – they will programme our own natural mRNA function – sending a ‘code’ or the ‘building instructions’ to build the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 – or rather – to get our own bodies to create the spike protein (to then get our own bodies to attack a ‘fake’ version of the virus, so that it will create memory-protection against ‘the real thing’ when it comes across the ‘real virus’ in future (that matches that spike protein in the code)
  3. mRNA hacking failed in the past because our bodies attack it immediately, so scientists designed a new way of getting it into our cells using lipo nanoparticles (side note: most of the initial side-effects people are experiencing are due to the lipo nanoparticles)
  4. The lipo nanoparticles trick our bodies into allowing the mRNA-hack to stay in our bodies long enough to do it’s job of programming our cells to create the fake spike protein which will in turn activate our immune system (against the spike protein that it just made)
  5. Those newly-made proteins are presented on the cell-surface, and an immune-response happens, which will produce antibodies.
  6. Once antibodies have been created, an immune-response is ‘remembered’ for when it encounters that spike protein again.
  7. When the “Real-infection” comes, the body can start dealing with the intrusion immediately as the cells ‘remember’ the previous attack so our inner-soldiers are alerted faster that this is the ‘enemy’ and can move faster to defend itself.

Continue to Part Two (Differences between the Vaccine Options)

See a summary of all posts about the virus.

Penny... on Health
Penny... on Health

Truth-seeker, ever-questioning, ever-learning, ever-researching, ever delving further and deeper, ever trying to 'figure it out'. This site is a legacy of sorts, a place to collect thoughts, notes, book summaries, & random points of interests.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not medical science or medical advice. I do not have any medical training aside from my own research and interest in this area. The information I publish is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, disorder, pain, injury, deformity, or physical or mental condition. I just report my own results, understanding & research.