The non-fungible token — a digital asset that is traded on blockchain technology — was designed by University of Pennsylvania researchers who are credited with pioneering the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19.
The NFT includes a minute-long 3D animation of the mRNA that protects the immune system against COVID-19.
The video shows mRNA encapsulated inside lipid nanoparticles, which are the fat droplets which help deliver the mRNA to the part of the body which triggers an immune response.
The NFT — the first digital asset ever offered by Penn — will raise money for more research.
Several other universities have introduced NFTs in order to further important research.
“The stunning speed with which the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were developed and their global success in fighting the pandemic has led to an explosion of interest in how modified mRNA technology can be applied across many fields of medicine,” said J. Larry Jameson, the executive vice president of University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.
The auction will be conducted online by Christie’s between July 15 and July 25.
This week, the federal government opened the COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer and Moderna shots, to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
The government has already been gearing up for the vaccine expansion, with millions of doses ordered for distribution to doctors, hospitals and community health clinics around the country.