Different Types of COVID-19 Vaccines; How They Work
Human bodies are phenomenal. They possess an innate ability to combat disease-causing pathogens and can even secure themselves against the recurrence of an infection.
When some infections occur, the body responds by forming a blood protein known as an antibody. The purpose of the antibody is to safeguard the body against future re-infection by the same pathogen.
When the body creates antibodies, we say that the person has developed immunity against that disease, as it cannot afflict them again in the future.
Vaccines are an artificial way to build immunity.
Instead of waiting for an individual to contract and suffer through an illness, doctors introduce a mild form of the pathogen into a person’s body.
The introduced pathogen then provokes the body to produce antibodies against the specific pathogen.
Therefore, vaccines are products that safely expose an otherwise healthy body to a particular disease-causing pathogen to facilitate antibody production.
As we shall find out shortly, there are different types of COVID-19 vaccines. In this discussion, we look at the following classifications:
- Whole virus vaccines
- Nucleic acid vaccines
- Protein subunit vaccines
- Viral vector vaccines
4 Types of COVID-19 Vaccines and How They Work
Covid-19 vaccines are classified under the type of immunity that they offer.
Before getting vaccinated, you first need to know your COVID-19 status. You can do this by taking a Healgen Covid-19 Rapid Antigen test. Click here to learn more.
Your status will inform the kind of vaccine you require. The following are the main COVID-19 vaccine categories:
1. Whole virus vaccines
Whole virus vaccines are of two kinds; live attenuated vaccines and inactivated vaccines.
With live attenuated vaccines, scientists use heat to destroy the virus’s genetic makeup. On the other hand, inactivated vaccines have a weakened genetic makeup.
Upon injection, whole virus attenuated vaccines replicate vigorously and may result in mild symptoms of the disease.
Consequently, they mimic the actual infection without the full-blown illness. Therefore, whole virus attenuated vaccines are not ideal for persons with weakened immune systems, such as HIV.
Once injected into the host’s body, the vaccine jumpstarts the immune system, which will react by producing antibodies to battle the infection.
These comprise Killer T-Cells, which destroy all cells with the virus, B-Cells that target similar pathogens within the blood system, and Helper T-Cells, which promote antibody production.
While rigorous, attenuated vaccines provide more extended immunity periods compared to inactivated vaccines.
Inactivated vaccines are those in which parts of the disease-causing pathogen have been destroyed in a lab. In inactivated vaccines, the virus is in a weakened state, making this vaccine safer and more stable than its attenuated sibling.
The retained parts of the virus contained in the inactivated vaccine are proteins. These are the proteins to which the immune system will react.
Inactivated vaccines present a short-lived immunity period, and as a result, the host will require some additional booster shots to sustain his immunity.
2. Nucleic acid vaccines
In nucleic acid vaccines, the virus’s genetic material is used to catalyze an immune response from the host’s body.
The nucleic acid in the vaccine aids the body with information to facilitate protein production from the pathogen.
In turn, the immune system recognizes that protein as an antigen (foreigner) and kicks into fight mode.
During the ensuing fighting spree, the body builds a robust immune system against future infection by that virus.
Nucleic acid vaccine technology is still in its formative stages and is yet to be approved for humans.
Among the areas in which scientists are exploring the vaccine are HIV and COVID-19.
Nonetheless, the technology has already been put to use on animal vaccinations and is employed to curb the West Nile virus’s spread in horses.
3. Protein subunit vaccines
Subunit or cellular vaccines operate using purified bits of the pathogenic virus.
Consequently, they are incredibly safe.
There are several subunit vaccines: polysaccharide vaccines, conjugate subunit vaccines, and protein subunit vaccines).
The technology involved has been around for some time and is used to produce several vaccines such as the Hepatitis-B, Tetanus, and Meningococcal vaccines.
Also, subunit vaccines do not feature live elements of the virus, which tremendously lowers the risk of the host falling ill from the pathogen.
Subunit vaccines restrict your immune system’s access to the whole virus by only providing access to bits of the virus’s genetic material.
Since the subunit vaccine technology has been in use for a while, it is a refined process. The subunit vaccine is also suitable for pregnant women because of its restricted access to the virus’s genetic makeup.
Overall, this type of vaccine is safe and ideal for persons with diminished immunity, although booster shots may sometimes be necessary.
4. Viral vector vaccines
Viral vector vaccine technology has been used to produce Ebola, Measles, and Flu vaccines.
Compared to some of the other vaccines discussed earlier, viral vector vaccines offer a more robust immune response, particularly in persons who have not been exposed to the virus previously.
The virus in viral vector vaccines is harmless, having been stripped of its disease-causing genes.
However, the remaining particles contain antigens identified and targeted by the immune system once the virus vaccine is introduced into the host’s body.
Upon identification, the immune system prepares an immune response and builds antibodies to fight against the virus.
In particular, viral vector vaccines provoke strong immune responses by Killer T-Cells while boosting antibodies’ production by B-Cells.
Once the vaccine virus enters the body, the human cells identify the virus’s antigens and deliver an attack against them.
The only downside to viral vector vaccines is they are less effective in persons who have been exposed to the virus before.
As a result, this type of vaccine may not be best for asymptomatic persons or individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
A Healgen Covid-19 Rapid Antibody Test can let you know whether you have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past. Visit handstations.co.uk and order one today.