Current Status of COVID-19 in Arkansas
From the Arkansas Department of Health
As of August 17, 2021 90 % of COVID cases in the last 6 months have been in unvaccinated individuals. 92.1% of the hospitalizations and 90.7% of the deaths from COVID also been in unvaccinated individuals.
The infection rate in Arkansas is one of the highest in the nation. Currently, there are 3 vaccines available in the state under an emergency use authorization. These are Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
How COVID infects your cells
How does the novel coronavirus infect a cell?
Due to its unique features, the novel coronavirus is particularly good at infecting new cells, both in the upper respiratory tract, as well as deeper down in the lungs. Here’s a look at how the process takes place.
- The microscopic virus enters through the nose or mouth, where it begins its infection of our airways.
- The outer spike protein of the coronavirus latches onto specific receptors on the surface of cells in our respiratory tract. In the case of COVID-19, the virus latches on to the ACE2 receptor.
- This binding triggers the process by which the virus fuses into human cells. The viral envelope merges with the oily membrane of our own cells, allowing the virus to release its genetic material into the inside of the healthy cell.
- The genetic blueprint of the virus is RNA (instead of DNA), which acts as a molecular message, instructing our host cell machinery to read the template and translate it into proteins that make up new virus particles.
How COVID vaccines work
As you can see from the video, the COVID virus causes disease by attaching itself to one of your cells. The spike protein (or S protein) is the only part of the virus that can attach to your cell. When this happens, this enables the virus to enter your cell and use the machinery of that cell to make more viruses. The idea behind the vaccine is simple. If the virus does not attach to the cell, it cannot take over the cell machinery and you do not get the disease.
The vaccine we are studying is not an mRNA vaccine, but uses an older approach. These older approaches are known as viral vector vaccines or protein subunit vaccines.
They are designed to mimic the spike or S protein. This protein is then identified as foreign material and attacked by your immune system. After the battle, your immune system remembers that this protein is no good and your immune system is ready to combat the virus, with weapons, such as antibodies, which are specifically targeted to this piece of protein.
So, when the virus lands on your nose because someone has coughed on you, your body is ready to attack, neutralizing the spike protein, and blocking the virus from attaching to your cells. Remember, if the spike protein does not work, COVID cannot attach to your cells and you do not get the disease, or if you do, it is usually mild.
If you are thinking of getting a COVID vaccine soon, click on the contact form for more information!
No obligation, but we will call you to answer your questions.
This study is enrolling soon!
- 18 years of age or older
- Have not previously been vaccinated for COVID-19
- Have not been previously diagnosed with COVID-19