Flu and Polio Vaccines

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Vaccines have improved the health of the world, and have almost eradicated many life threatening diseases in first-world nations. When researching vaccines I wanted to learn about the history of vaccines, and how they improved society. I specifically researched the development and improvement of the poliomyelitis vaccine, and how it improved the health of the general public. I also researched recent improvements on the flu vaccine, and how it’s distributed into the general public. The topic of vaccines interested me because so many people oppose vaccines based on untrue facts and I wanted research the topic on my own to understand what actually lead to the current development of vaccines and how they came to be. Vaccines relate to the course because they fight off, and prevent diseases in the body that would infect a person’s cells. In biology we learn about cells, their structures, and their purpose.

Vaccines revolutionized modern medicine as a way to preemptively fight against deadly diseases. Vaccination is considered one of the most effective preventative medicines, “immunization is widely acknowledged as the most cost-effective of all public health interventions” (Schlager and Lauer, 2001). Early practices of vaccination date back all the way to 1000 AD in China. Smallpox scabs were gathered from the affected population and were, “ administered to a child by blowing the dust through his nose” (Lerner 2012 ). Although not the most medically safe procedure it was deemed effective for the times, and was credited for the prevention of smallpox in certain small areas of China. Modern medicine has evolved, and advance much further beyond that point, but so has the disease the world faces. Major vaccines that impacted the world since then include, the poliomyelitis vaccine, and the modern flu vaccine.

Polio is a dangerous disease that had a peak of 50,000 cases in a year in the 1950s. In the mid to late 1950s there were two vaccines developed to protect against polio, the Salk, and the Sabin vaccines. Salk’s vaccine was considered the first successful vaccine against polio, “The Salk vaccine was declared 90% effective against Types II and III poliovirus and 60 to 70% effective against Type I” (Blume and Geesink, 2000). Soon after Albert Sabin developed a polio vaccine of his own. This vaccine was considered superior at the time because it was delivered orally and only needed to be administered once and had a better success rate compared to Salk’s vaccine. It was later discovered that Sabin’s vaccine had a link with paralytic polio. Around 1978 Salk released an improved version of his first vaccine that had no link to paralytic polio and only needed to be administered twice for long lasting effects. This version of the polio vaccine is still the primarily used polio vaccine to this day.

The flu is a common seasonal illness that evolves and mutates each year, this is why it is hard to create a single long lasting vaccine for it. Scientist, and researchers have been working on a more effective form the the flu vaccine. One theoretically way of creating a “universal” flu vaccine is to change what the vaccine itself is targeting. Most modern vaccines primarily target a specific protein on the surface of the virus. This is one of the reasons why we have seasonal flu shots instead of a single long term vaccine. The surface of the virus, and proteins found there can change from year to year. A universal flu vaccine wouldn’t be able to target a single protein at the surface of the virus instead, “A universal vaccine would target the stalk, which always remains the same” (Batchelor, 2018).

Another way to better protect against the flu is using Fluzone High-Dose which is what it sounds like, a high dose flu vaccine, which is proven to protect against the flu more effectively than the typical vaccine. The only problem with the high-dose vaccine is that it has only been approved by the FDA to be administered to patients over the age of 65. This is because of the age of the trial participants, “In a study of 300 adults who were 50 to 64 years old, Fluzone High-Dose produced higher levels of antibodies than the standard-dose vaccine did” (Klasco 2018). Doctors cannot legally prescribe Fluzone High-Dose as a vaccination for people younger than 65, but doctors get around this by prescribing medication for unapproved off-label indications.

Cite this paper

Flu and Polio Vaccines. (2021, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/flu-and-polio-vaccines/

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