Stanford scientists post mRNA sequence for Moderna vaccine on Github - reports

Scientists Massa Shoura and Andrew Fire have posted the full sequence of the vaccine on GitHub for all to see, according to Motherboard.

A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States on 24 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG_- Vice's _tech publication Motherboard publication reported on Monday that a group of Stanford scientists sequenced the Moderna coronavirus vaccine and posted the code platform GitHub.

About 56 million developers use the platform to create and share technology code and to collaborate with each other. It's a free platform with some paid-for features.

_Motherboard _reported that scientists from the prestigious university gathered samples from leftover vaccine vials that were due to be thrown away. Once they gathered enough, they reverse engineered the mRNA, which once administered, prompts the body's own cells to create a viral protein that emulates the coronavirus and is harmless. The immune system then gears up to fight the coronavirus. Once the mRNA breaks down, which is quite quick, the body's immune system is then ready to fight the real coronavirus.

The GitHub post is four pages long: "RNA vaccines have become a key tool in moving forward through the challenges raised both in the current pandemic and in numerous other public health and medical challenges," the report explains.

_Motherboard _reported that the scientists, Massa Shoura and Andrew Fire, said it wasn't technically reverse-engineering the virus.

“We didn't reverse engineer the vaccine. We posted the putative sequence of two synthetic RNA molecules that have become sufficiently prevalent in the general environment of medicine and human biology in 2021,” they told _Motherboard _via email. “As the vaccine has been rolling out, these sequences have begun to show up in many different investigational and diagnostic studies. Knowing these sequences and having the ability to differentiate them from other RNAs in analyzing future biomedical data sets is of great utility.”

Pharmaceutical companies have come under fire for not sharing the virus unless it was for costs. Some countries have had to pay more than others for the vaccine. \

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 128 million people around the world. Country leaders have also warned against vaccine nationalism, referring to richer states buying up more vaccines than they need, while poorer states have to wait longer for the treatment.