European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants the European Union to primarily purchase vaccines based on so-called mRNA technologies, such as those from pharmaceuticals Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

The EU may need new vaccines to combat new varieties.

Von der Leyen thinks he needs the new vaccines "early and in sufficient numbers".

"That's why we need to focus on proven technologies, the mRNA vaccines are a clear example of this."

Preparing for the future: we are starting negotiations with BioNTech-Pfizer for a 3rd contract. It will foresee the delivery of 1.8 billion additional vaccine doses in 2021-2023. Production of vaccines & all essential components will be based in 🇪🇺Other contracts may follow!

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Avatar AuthorvonderleyenMoment of places12: 15 - 14 April 2021

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are new.

Previous vaccines were invariably based on the pathogens themselves, for example a piece of weakened or inactivated virus.

MRNA vaccines contain a piece of genetic code for a specific part of the corona virus.

In the case of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, this involves a code of the so-called spike protein, with which the virus enters body cells.

As the name implies, messenger RNA plays the role of messenger.

Around the puncture site, cells in the body receive instructions from the mRNA to start producing the spike protein itself.

The immune system recognizes that protein as foreign and attacks it.

If the vaccinated person later comes into contact with the corona virus, the immune system recognizes the spike protein and takes action.

Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines work differently.

These are so-called vector vaccines.

They are based on defused cold viruses, to which a piece of genetic code from the coronavirus has been added.

A similarity with the mRNA vaccines is that these vaccines also involve the spike protein.

See also: This is the technology behind the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines

The Janssen vaccine still has a chance

The committee started negotiations on Wednesday on a third contract with Pfizer / BioNTech for 1.8 billion doses for the period 2021 to 2023. "Not only will the production of these vaccines, but also all essential components will come from the EU."

The German physician, underlined that this does not mean that future contracts will not be signed with manufacturers who do not use the technology, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson for the Janssen vaccine.