The announcement today that Pfizer’s new coronavirus vaccine was found in clinical trials to be more than 90% effective is a promising step in the battle against the deadly virus.
Unlike other vaccines in development, the Pfizer vaccine was not created using fetal cells and should not present any any ethical problems for pro-life advocates.
Both Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines made without fetal cells
As reported by Wesley Smith in Life News, the new vaccine, developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, was created without the use of fetal cells. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, in a comparison of vaccines in development, deemed the Pfizer vaccine “ethically uncontroversial.”
In fact, Pfizer’s vaccine makes use of a technology that does not need to use any cells at all.
How does Pfizer’s vaccine work?
Typically, a vaccine is developed by placing a virus inside cells. The coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and Astrazeneca relies on the HEK-239 cell lines from a baby aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s.
Pfizer’s vaccine, if approved by the FDA, would be the first vaccine to use mRNA technology, which does not require any cells at all. The vaccine is instead developed in test tubes using chemicals (RNA) and an enzyme. According to the American Council on Science and Health, this creates mRNA molecules which can them be injected into the human body. The vaccine then prompts the individual’s own cells to produce the protein that stimulates an immune response.
Why have some Catholic leaders expressed ethical concerns about some coronavirus vaccine candidates?