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Anna McGillis                                                                                                            1-18-18 IMMUNE SYSTEM
PROJECT                                                              Period 6, SLS43-10

As early as A.D 1000, people in India, China, and
Africa would expose themselves to mild cases of smallpox in order to acquire
immunity for the disease. This is where the idea of vaccinations first
originated. It has been theorized that vaccination has been around for many
centuries in ancient civilizations such as China, India, and Persia in 1000
B.C. They used a process called variolation in which patients would be injected
with a sample of the disease in a cut on their body. This process can be
effective in developing immunity, yet some experience a harmful attack since
the disease is still alive. These theories have never been proved true, but the
first recorded use of vaccination was by Edward Jenner who was born on May 17th
in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Orphaned at an age of five, Edwards interest in
science was always a constant in his life. He started as a surgeon’s apprentice
and later studied anatomy and surgery at St. George’s Hospital, London with
surgeon John Hunter. Edward returned to Berkeley in 1772 to practice general
medicine and surgery as a local doctor. Edward continued his research on
vaccinations during his career until 1796 when he tested his vaccination on an
eight-year-old boy. He inserted the pus from a cow pustule into the arm of the
boy, and his theory was proved right as he never contracted the cowpox disease.
In 1797 Edward submitted his findings on vaccinations to the Royal Society but
was told that there wasn’t enough proof. Edward Jenner was determined to
justify his findings so he began to test on many other children including his
own 11-month old son. In 1798 he was able to publish findings and called his
treatment a vaccine due to the word for cow in Latin being ‘Vacca.’ Once
published many people did not agree with his means of testing with material
from a diseased animal. Edward did not stop his research and was able to spread
vaccinations due to their evident benefits. He died on the 26th of January,
1823.

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Vaccines work by injecting weakened or dead
microbes into healthy individuals. The weakened microbes do not cause disease
but their antigens trigger immune responses as it would to a real infection.
This means that the immune system produces memory cells which create immunity
against subsequent exposure to the living and dangerous microbes. Using genetic
engineering tailor-made vaccines can be made. You can do this by synthesizes
the antigenic proteins of the disease-causing microbes. The antigens are used
as vaccines and do not need to be injected along with a weakened or dead
microbe. The second way you can do this is by inserting genes that encode the
antigens into the genome of harmless microbes. The “designer”
microbes produce antigens without causing the disease.

Measles was one of the most contagious viruses
during the 20th century. Measles has been speculated to have been around since
the 9th century due to a Persian doctor writing a paper on encountering a
disease which resembles measles. By 1912, measles was seen as a threat as an
average of 6,000 measles deaths were seen each year. By 1963, a vaccine for
measles was created by John Enders with the help of his colleagues. The CDC
struggled in their fight against measles but were able to decrease the number
of reported measles cases by 80% in 1981. By 2000 measles was said to be
eradicated. In the recent years, evidence suggests that this is not the case.
In 2013 measles cases in the United States tripled, despite the fact that 90%
of the American population does have their vaccinations. On March 7th of 2014,
there has been an outbreak of an outbreak of measles in northern Manhattan and
the Bronx. Canadian officials also reported that five new cases of measles have
been discovered in British Columbia. 2014 itself has been reported to have 667
cases of measles from 27 different states. No number of cases has been this
high in the United States since 2000. In 24 states and the District of
Columbia, 188 cases of measles were reported in 2015. In 2016 there were 86
cases from 16 states. In 2017 there were 120 cases from 15 states.

The flu virus is a very common in the United
States. It is recommended that people get a shot every year in preparation for
flu season. Though seen as harmless, the flu virus may actually be
life-threatening to the elderly due to the degrading of the immune response.
There are three different ways that the flu vaccine is made. The first and most
common way is egg-based flu vaccines. This is used to make both the inactive
vaccine, called the flu shot, and the live attenuated flu vaccine, also known
as a nasal spray. The production is started by providing private sector
manufacturers with the candidate vaccine viruses. The candidate vaccine viruses
are then injected into fertilized hen’s eggs. The virus replicates itself over
a time period of a couple days. The fluid containing the virus is then taken
out of eggs and the virus antigen is purified and tested. The vaccine is
approved and then released to the world. The second way to create the flu
vaccine is with cell-based flu vaccines.  First, cell-grown candidate vaccine viruses
are treated in cultured mammalian cells and replicate over a few days. The
virus-containing fluid is collected from the cells, and the antigen is purified
and tested until release. The third and final approved method are recombinant
flu vaccines. It starts with isolating a certain protein from a vaccine virus
which will be combined with another virus that grows well in insect cells. The
new vaccine is combined with insect cells and replicates over a period of a few
days. The protein is taken from the insect cells and packaged and purified.

The flu vaccine is not always effective. This can
be for a number of reasons, but the main one is the flu virus is most mutating
viruses out there. The virus can change to a point that memory cells will no
longer recognize it. More reasons for it failing is that you can contract the
flu virus too quickly, or you can contract the flu virus after too much time
has passed between the vaccination and infection. The vaccine will not remain
effective for long periods of time. The memory cell’s lifetime is not infinite.
If you get the flu virus before two weeks after the vaccination it will not be
effective. Your body has not had enough time to develop an immune response.

Many life-threatening diseases have been prevented
from causing outbreaks using vaccines. Over 14 childhood diseases now can be
treated with vaccines. Some diseases are harder to solve. An example of this is
HIV. When someone is infected with HIV, your body does not create the same
immune response that it would with a regular virus. HIV attacks helper T cells
which are responsible for most of the immune response. Helper T cells also help
in creating memory cells which remember the disease. The virus kills the cells
that a vaccine would induce to create an immune response.

Anti-vaccination
movements have been around for a long time, even dating back to the time of
smallpox in England. The Vaccination Acts of 1853 and 1867 required children to
receive vaccines after Edward Jenner had created them. In response to this The
Anti Vaccination League, Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, and many
anti-vaccination journals were created as a backlash. These anti-vaccination
movements are dangerous though. Viruses or bacteria begin to become immunized
if the amount of people vaccinated in a population is high enough. An example
can be polio. Polio was slowly becoming obsolete once about 70% of the
population had their vaccines. The percentage is relative though, as less
contagious diseases would need fewer people to be immunized in order for the
spread to slow. The reasons that people choose for their children or themselves
not to get vaccines are based on misinformed decisions. Some of these reasons
include that people believe that if the disease isn’t common, then there is no
reason to be afraid. Other decisions are based on fear. Since 1998, vaccines
have been speculated to cause autism. This is based on little evidence, yet the
fear of getting autism causes many people to avoid vaccines. Without vaccines,
many diseases thought to be under control could appear again, just like the
previously mentioned measles. Diseases that cause death and destruction. In
order to fight these accusations, more reliable and scientifically proved
information needs to be provided to people so they will not have fear of
vaccines, something that can save their lives.

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