Happy 2021! Last year was one of the most tiresome years of most of our lifetimes, but with 2021 comes hope. Authorities are distributing vaccines to essential workers, and with luck, soon, we'll get them as well. But how does the vaccine work?
Over the past ten months, we've all seen the picture of the coronavirus shown over and over on the news. The virus's first layer is covered completely in protein. This protein layer is what helps infiltrate cells so the virus can get inside them. The vaccine only detects and attacks the protein, but, without the protein, the virus can't get inside us.
As for how vaccines in general work, vaccines only train your body to fight a virus. They are only dead and dying versions of those viruses inserted into your body so your immune system learns the way to protect you from that virus. The next time the virus gets into your body, your body will know exactly how to fend it off.
The COVID-19 vaccine only teaches your body how to attack and destroy the protein layer on the virus, but that is enough in this case.
Around five days ago, a mutation of the virus arrived in the U.K., which is cause for worry. The vaccine is made for this coronavirus, not another.
There are two possibilities. In one, the mutation is nothing to worry about as the protein layer is still there, and therefore, the current vaccine can thwart the virus. But the other possibility is one in which the protein does not cover the virus any longer, and it has learned to live without it. This would mean bad news for us as we would need another brand new vaccine to impede the mutation.
While scientists still try to work out the details of Sars-CoV-2 mutations, let's all stay inside, wear masks and keep hoping for the best!