What's a vaccine?
A vaccine is suspension of dead or weakened micro-organisms which is introduced in our bodies to produce antibodies against the infectious agent. So that when this micro-organism is inside your body you have defences against it and you will not suffer the disease.
The first vaccine.
In 1796 a British doctor, Edward Jenner (1749-1823), discovered the first vaccine which was against the human smallpox. His experiment consisted of introducing the virus of a cow in a 8 year-old child and some weeks later Jenner introduced the human virus to the same child but he didn't suffer the disease.
Types of vaccines.
- Vaccines of weakened micro-organisms: They produce a sub-clinical way of the disease like for example the vaccines against the smallpox or the hepatitis.
- Vaccines of dead micro-organisms: They also produce antibodies to defend our organism from the future infection. For example: the flu and the typhus vaccines.
- Vaccines of toxins produced by infectious agents: The immunization is produced by the weakened toxins because our organism produces antibodies against them.
- Vaccines obtained by genetic engineering: Using the recombinant DNA technology, it is possible to produce vaccines in bacterium cultures genetically modified.
Flu is an infection that each winter affects to 10-20% of the population, and in some cases it can be lethal. There is a vaccine against flu and it is usually supplied to people who are more likely to suffer the infection. The groups of people that are in risk are:
- Health workers.
- People with respiratory illness.
- Heart patients, people with renal diseases or diabetics.
- Old people.
- People who receive treatments with immunosuppressives.