Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech are jointly developing a vaccine candidate based on genetic material known as messenger RNA, which carries the instructions for cells to make proteins. Because the virus typically uses this protein as a key to unlock and take over lung cells, the vaccine could train a healthy immune system to produce antibodies to fight off an infection. The technology also has the advantage of being faster to produce, and tends to be more stable than traditional vaccines, which use weakened virus strains.Moderna, Inovio, CanSino and several other pharmaceutical companies are trying similar approaches, some of which began the first phase of tests in humans a few weeks ago.

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