COVID-19 Vaccines Are Coming, but They’re Not What You Think – The Atlantic

These novel approaches could fail in many ways.

RNA vaccines—injecting not proteins but the molecules of nucleic acid that encode the instructions for building the proteins. Your cells use RNA to instruct their builders to make proteins all the time; the RNA is like the blueprints or schematics that tell the workers on the factory floor what to build. An RNA vaccine injects instructions to your cells, and hopes that your cells receive these instructions and follow them, and build the proteins that will teach your immune system to fight a virus. It is a bit like wadding up plans for a Cessna, throwing them through the ventilation shaft of a Ford factory, and hoping that someone inside finds them, and that the factory starts rolling airplanes out its doors instead of pickups.