Vacunas de avanzada

NUEVA YORK – Las vacunas se cuentan las experiencias más exitosas de la historia de la sanidad pública e individual. Han ayudado a erradicar la viruela, están en camino de hacerlo con la polio y cada año evitan millones de muertes, rediciendo así el sufrimiento y los costes provocados por las enfermedades infecciosas.

Pero hay muchas enfermedades para las que no existen. Más aún, es improbable que las estrategias que en el pasado permitieron desarrollarlas con éxito funcionen contra bacterias y virus más complejos, como el VIH, que han desarrollado distintos mecanismos para eludir el sistema inmunológico.

La historia de la vacunología consiste en avances biomédicos y tecnológicos que abren el camino a la “nueva generación” de vacunas. En los años 50, la capacidad de hacer crecer virus en cultivos de tejidos representó un gran paso que llevó al desarrollo de vacunas atenuadas vivas y vacunas inactivadas para la viruela, la polio y otras enfermedades. En los años 80, la técnica del ADN recombinante condujo al desarrollo de vacunas contra la hepatitis B y el virus del papiloma humano.

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