Can COVID-19 mRNA vaccines change our DNA?
I am trying something new for this blog. I have an audio recording of it at the bottom of this blog. Please let me know if you prefer the audio version.
I have heard many experts state that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Some of the COVID-19 vaccines are designed to have a piece of mRNA of COVID-19 inside. The mRNA is the blueprint for creating proteins in a cell. The mRNA is surrounded by a lipid (fat) layer to help it merge with the cell membrane. The mRNA enters the cell and floats in the cell’s cytoplasm - the area of the cell that is contained by the outer cell membrane and the inner nuclear membrane. The nuclear membrane separates the cytoplasm from the nucleus. (I realize this is pretty technical, but the details are necessary for the blog!)
Once inside, the mRNA wanders into a ribosome (a protein factory). The ribosome in the cytoplasm of the cell reads the mRNA and creates the spike protein of COVID-19. This spike protein then moves to the outer cell membrane. The immune system detects the spike protein and creates an immune response against COVID-19. To hear an expert and see her diagram of this process, please go to 42:17-43:50 of this presentation.
One concern that I have heard about the vaccine is that the piece of mRNA will fuse with a person’s DNA, thus changing their DNA. The experts have stated that this does not happen, and the discussion ends. Since I am a curious person, I tend to ask a lot of “Why” questions. I want to understand what is happening!
I spent many hours looking into this question. The nuclear membrane separates the cytoplasm from the nucleus of a cell. Otherwise, it would be a huge mess with DNA strewn all over the place! This would be a bigger mess than someone walking on a recently cleaned kitchen floor with muddy boots!!
The nuclear membrane must allow raw molecules that are needed for the nucleus to function to get through. Also, the products that are made in the nucleus must get to the cytoplasm. You can think of it like a factory. Components must be shipped to the factory to make the product. The finished product must be shipped out of the factory to go to market.
Some molecules can float through the nuclear membrane. Other need to be actively shipped through channels in the nuclear membrane. A molecule that is like a boat for these channels is called importin. Importin allows for certain proteins to get through. This is what stops mRNA from entering a cell. Its molecular structure is not a protein. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines area huge molecules that cannot float through the nuclear membrane and therefore cannot change the DNA.
So, that is the explanation. The mRNA is not a protein and it is too big to get through the nuclear membrane. Thus, the COVID-19 vaccine does not change DNA! Thanks for reading! #seniors #olderadults #covid19vaccine #covidvaccine
Photo by CDC from Pexels