I've read the article:


regarding a prospective method of immunization against sars-cov-2 using the spike protein of the virus and micro-needle array delivery (MNA) and I've wondered if using the virus instead of the spike protein makes sense. What are the trade-offs? Is the risk of the virus spreading through the bloodstream in the body very high? Is culturing the virus or producing the spike protein more expensive? Can the sars-cov-2 virus be de-activated after being produced to make it safer?

  • I have a problem with always having the tendency to edit the question to make it more clear. For example title "Possibility of using" instead of "Safety of using". I'm not sure how acceptable for this site it is to edit often if it doesn't change the meaning too much (just small improvements). Can someone clarify?
    – yoneru
    Apr 5, 2020 at 5:49
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    You can keep editing as much as you like to clarify the meaning. Apr 5, 2020 at 6:38

2 Answers 2


Using weakened virus, or attenuated virus, is very old biotechnology to create vaccines. I doubt that there is any ethics committee that would sanction the use of live attenuated virus as a vaccine through whatever route as there is no data on safety via this route.

Also, you would want to be able inject enough virions to induce an immune response without killing the patient.

The latest technology is to use mRNA which would be used by the body to create the proteins seen on the virus, and the body would then create the antibodies against these proteins.

Moderna is studying its messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine in the US, and CanSino Biologics has begun a trial of its adenoviral vector vaccine in China.



The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccines, which use several protein fragments from the S1 protein and the receptor binding domain as primary antigenic targets to trigger production of antibodies. In general, whole (attenuated or killed) virus vaccines are pretty specific to that virus, and this works well for a virus that doesn't mutate or vary readily. Measles is a good example. the mRNA vaccines tend to provide more separate targets for antibody creation because they use smaller protein fragments. Thus, mutations and variants are more likely to see some positive effect from prior immunization than if a whole-virus response was created.

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    We work differently than most SE sites in that we have a strict policy that all answers must be backed up with reliable references so that the answer can be independently verified regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center or Medical Sciences Meta. Unreferenced claims can lead to answers being deleted.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jan 11, 2022 at 21:36
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    Re: " the mRNA viruses tend to provide more separate targets for antibody creation because they use smaller protein fragments." I think you meant "vaccines", not "viruses"; however, I don't believe the statement is correct, as the body's antigen presentation systems chop up proteins into very short peptides (8-10 aa or 18-20 aa long) for presentation. Whatever the starting length, everything ends up as short fragments of similar length.
    – Armand
    Jan 12, 2022 at 6:47

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