Breakthrough Vaccines

The history of vaccinology is one in which biomedical and technological advances usher in the “next generation” of vaccines. But there are still many diseases for which vaccines do not yet exist, and research strategies that have worked previously are unlikely to work against more complex bacteria or viruses, such as HIV.

NEW YORK – Vaccines are one of the great success stories in the history of individual and public health. They have helped rid the planet of the scourge of smallpox, are poised to eliminate polio, and each year prevent millions of deaths, reducing the suffering and costs caused by infectious diseases.

But there are still many diseases for which vaccines do not yet exist. Moreover, strategies that have previously led to the successful development of vaccines are unlikely to work against more complex bacteria or viruses, such as HIV, which have evolved multiple mechanisms to evade the immune system.

The history of vaccinology is one in which biomedical and technological advances usher in the “next generation” of vaccines. In the 1950’s, a breakthrough that enabled viruses to grow in tissue cultures led to the development of both live attenuated vaccines and inactivated vaccines for measles, polio, and other diseases. In the 1980’s, recombinant DNA technology led to the development of vaccines against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus.

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