Vaccination

Vaccination from the Latin “vacca” means “cow”, it has existed for centuries in different ways and practices that are even a little ancestral. It has progressively evolved over the years and today it is an essential practice to stimulate the body’s natural defenses. It is evident that the cow played an important role in this great discovery.
Read also: 10 myths and truths about vaccination

What does vaccination consist of?

Vaccination is a method of protecting the body against infectious diseases by introducing an external agent, usually a weakened form of a pathogen, whose role is to strengthen the immune system. This is the vaccine. Thanks to the antigen, the body will generate an immune response allowing the body to defend itself when exposed to certain diseases. Furthermore, a mechanism to memorize the mobilized antigen is activated in order to accelerate its action in a real contamination. Vaccines can be divided into four types according to their method of preparation: inactivated infectious agents, subunit infectious agents, live attenuated agents and inactivated toxins.

Through vaccination, the body will produce antibodies designed to fight against very specific pathogens. It is for this reason that a vaccine corresponds to a specific disease. You must remember that the body does not permanently produce the same amount of antibodies, they gradually decrease, reducing the effectiveness of the vaccine in a shorter or longer period. On the contrary, some vaccines such as BCG and antituberculosis do not induce the production of antibodies, but provoke a cellular protection reaction.

When to inoculate a vaccine and what are the different modes of administration?

To be effective, vaccines must be inoculated into a healthy individual to avoid any risk of side effects. However, even people who suffer from chronic or pre-existing illnesses, such as some respiratory illnesses, can be vaccinated. This is, for example, the case of flu vaccination.
Vaccination can also take place in two ways, depending on whether it is intended to prevent disease or to stimulate the production of antibodies used to fight a disease that already exists. In the first case, the vaccine is preventive, that is, it is inoculated before the onset of the disease. In the second case, there is talk of a therapeutic vaccine, also known under the name of active immunotherapy. The function of this vaccine is to promote the production of antibodies to help people already affected by the disease.
In most cases, vaccines are inoculated by injection, but this does not exclude some vaccines administered orally (famous “droplets”).

Vaccination from its origins to the present day – History of vaccination

The first form of vaccination emerged in the 16th century in China. It consisted of inoculating a form of smallpox considered less virulent and, in contact with a person, served to immunize him. However, this method was not yet fully developed and the risk of contamination was still present, resulting in a 1-2% mortality rate. This practice has spread progressively and its use has been shown to be increasingly effective. The idea of ​​the possibility of immunizing human beings against certain diseases was developed. Recognition of the beneficial effect of inoculating an attenuated germ to help the body recognize a specific germ and defend itself against it has been developing.

It was from 1760 that the first experiments began to appear. Daniel Bernoulli demonstrated that the extension of this practice is conducive to an improvement in life expectancy at birth, despite the risks. At that time, smallpox inoculation was a source of controversy both in France and in other countries. Between 1770 and 1791, several people performed a test to verify the immunizing effect of inoculating cowpox. Edward Jenner, an English physician, confirmed this discovery in 1796 and supported it until its effectiveness was officially recognized. On the 14th of May of that same year, he inoculated a healthy child of eight, James Phipps, with pus extracted from the hand of a farmer suffering from cowpox. After three months, he inoculated the child with smallpox and demonstrated that the immunization was real. He understood that the vaccine could be a milder form of the smallpox virus. Since then, vaccination has made its way and spread across Europe.

Later, studies by Louis Pasteur and his collaborators on the relationship between microbes and disease refined the vaccination technique. After Jenner’s experiment, the first vaccine was for rabies. It was successfully administered to a child, Joseph Meister, before he was bitten by a dog. From this experience, the modern vaccination we know today was born.

mRNA (mRNA) and DNA-based vaccines
This new family of vaccines looks promising, especially for vaccination against Covid-19. As of April 2020, no mRNA vaccine has been authorized worldwide, for example by the renowned American FDA. In April 2020, two companies (Moderna in the United States, Biontech in Germany) were conducting research to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. The company Biontech announced, on April 22, 2020, the start of a clinical study based on an mRNA vaccine against Covid-19. These mRNA vaccines directly target the genetic material of human cells, programming them to deal with the antigens of infectious agents such as viruses. In the case of Covid-19, the goal is to block the virus from entering human cells by targeting the Spike proteins found by the hundreds throughout the virus envelope.

A company like Inovio is researching a DNA vaccine (DNA) against Covid-19.

Revenue from vaccines
For the pharmaceutical industry, revenue is about 35 billion dollars a year. This represents less than 5% of the total revenue of the pharmaceutical industry. Four pharmaceutical companies (Glaxo-Smithkline, Pfizer, Merck & CO and Sanofi) account for more than 80% of the global vaccine market, as noted by the German economics newspaper Handesblatt in April 2020.

Read: 10 myths and truths about vaccination

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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