weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Vaccines will help fight coronavirus

Many community members may remember standing in long lines at their elementary school, local armory or high school gymnasium in the early 1960s to receive the Sabin oral polio vaccine, drinking a red liquid from a tiny paper cup, that immunized millions, helped to eradicate polio, and is included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

In the past weeks, two vaccines are being distributed that have been developed to protect individuals from contracting the coronavirus disease 2019. With the death toll in the U.S. over 306,000, and the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, the first vaccine rolled out for frontline health care workers in New York.

Hospitals across the country are set to receive and begin vaccination programs this month.

The first vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer, a 171-year-old Fortune 500 pharmaceutical giant, requires extremely low temperature storage with the vials requiring storage in dry ice-cooled packages as they are transported along with GPS-enabled thermal sensors to track the temperature of shipments.

The second COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency FDA approval was created by Moderna, a 10-year-old young rival biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both vaccines rely on synthetic messenger RNA, a variation on the natural substance that directs cells to produce proteins.

Where traditional vaccines typically inject a dead or weakened virus into the body to stimulate an immune response, mRNA vaccines are based on custom-made messenger molecules that tell cells to create a viral protein. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instruct cells to create the distinctive spike protein on the coronavirus so that the body’s immune system generates antibodies to fight off the disease.

What is mRNA?

Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) molecules that carry the genetic information needed to make proteins, carry the information from the DNA in the nucleus of the cell to the cytoplasm where the proteins are made.

In an ironic twist of pandemics and vaccines, mRNA was actually discovered in the summer of 1961 — the same year that saw the beginnings of the mass distribution of the Sabin oral polio vaccine — by a group of nearly a dozen individual biologists, biochemists, geneticists, zoologists and research scientists — stewards of molecular biology also responsible for cracking the genetic code and arguing for its role in gene regulation.

Nearly 60 years after its discovery, mRNA, the protein-making process harnessed by scientists, is set to help protect us from disease, including COVID-19.

To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bouldercityhospital.org.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Proposals for golf course maintenance sought

City Council chose at path to what they believe would be a more transparent process in providing maintenance at the city-owned golf courses.

Locals receive COVID vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Boulder City this week despite distribution issues reported throughout the country.

StoryBook prepares for neighborhood’s final phase

The third and final phase of Boulder Hills Estates is a step closer to beginning after planning commissioners unanimously recommended its final map for approval by City Council.

Seven join City Council race

Seven Boulder City residents have officially joined the race for one of two open seats on the City Council.

McManus celebrates accomplishments in State of City

The annual State of the City presentation looked different this year, but it was still a time to come together, celebrate the town and hear encouragement from Mayor Kiernan McManus about pressing on for the future.

Business Beat: New year brings new businesses

Not only did 2021 bring a fresh start for locals and the community, it also brought opportunities for businesses and allowed three new local ones to open.

BC Guard member helps save D.C. crash victim

A U.S. Army captain from Boulder City recently lived out the National Guards’ motto of “Always Ready, Always There” when she helped save a woman’s life while she was out buying coffee and supplies for her unit.

Study: Solar panels improve desert life

The solar panels in the Eldorado Valley outside of Boulder City could help desert plants and wildlife because of how they direct rainwater into the ground, according to researchers with Las Vegas’ Desert Research Institute.

Vaccine clinics scheduled

Some Boulder City residents will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free locally, starting Monday, Jan. 25.

Vece joins race for council seat

With five days remaining until the filing period for those wishing to run for a seat on the City Council officially opens, the pool of candidates continues to grow.