How do vaccines work?

Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health. But do you know how it works?

Back in 1976, Edward Jenner injected material from the cowpox virus into 8 years old boy with a hunch that this might protect him from the smallpox virus, which succeeded. To comprehend this we need to know how the immune system works against diseases.

When foreign microbes invade us it triggers the immune system with responses to identify and abolish them. Coughing, sneezing, inflammation, and fever are the signs that the immune response is working, which work to trap, deter, and get rid of bacteria. it also triggers adaptive immunity.

Cells like T cell and B cell are recruited to fight microbes and record information about them, but there is risk involved. The body takes time to respond to pathogens and build defenses, this is when the vaccines come in, which is injected to trigger the adaptive immune system.

  • Live attenuated vaccines, made up of pathogens but weaker and tamer version.
  • inactive vaccine, pathogens are killed and don’t create long-lasting immunity.
  • Subunit vaccine, made with one part of a pathogen called an antigen and by further isolating specific components it can prompt specific responses.

Scientists are now developing DNA vaccines by isolating genes that make the specific antigens to trigger their immune response to specific pathogens. If this becomes a success, it can build effective treatments for invasive pathogens in the future.

Let’s hope for salubrious life.

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