Ebola Vaccine

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I recently wrote another article for Bioislifemedia.com about an Ebola Vaccine. Before you read it, first learn about Ebola by reading this article that I published last year What Ever Happened to Ebola?!

“Ebola is a virus in the family of Filoviridae along with Marbug virus, that causes Hemorrhagic Fever. The virus leads to hemorrhaging by causing the body to lose the ability for your blood to clot, through multiorgan damage and drop in blood pressure. There are actually several Ebola viruses: Sudan Ebola, Zaire Ebola, Cote D’Ivoire Ebola, and Bundibugyo Ebola. They are all distinct species of Ebolavirus. The virus got it’s name from a small river in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). – Stacia Nicholson, What Ever Happened to Ebola?!

Then read about the candidate drug that may be the first vaccine to prevent Ebola in humans.

 

Varicella Disease: Chickenpox & Shingles

Varicella was once a common childhood disease. Due to childhood vaccination initiated in 1996 in the United States, the viral infection has already begun to fade out of common knowledge. Many young adults and adolescents today, have never experienced the itchy blistering rash, or missed days of school because of it. Some people have even begun to contest the necessity of vaccinating against the virus that causes chickenpox infections in children. However, preventing chickenpox can also prevent two painfully debilitating conditions later on in life; Shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia.

Varicella-Zoster Virus

The Varunknownicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) is a DNA herpesvirus that infects humans and some primates.  It is the cause of both Chickenpox (Varicella disease) and Shingles (Herpes Zoster).

Varicella Disease: Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly infectious childhood disease that primarily affects children between the ages of 1 and 9 years old. It causes an itchy vesicular rash to appear on the body, accompanied by fever and malaise.

Chickenpox is self-limiting, and does not require treatment to be resolved. Healthy individuals develop a mild disease that  generally clears within a few weeks. Symptoms such as dehydration, fever, and puritis, can be managed with fluid replacement, acetaminophen, and calamine lotion, respectively. Continue reading

News Article from 1983 talks about Genetically Engineered Vaccines

Written  for the Wall Street Journal by Jerry E.  Bishop and Michael Waldholz, the article is entitled New Genetically Engineered Vaccines Aim at Blocking Infectious Disease in Millions.

I stumbled upon this article written way back in 1983. It’s amazing, to see what appears to be a current health issue dating back so far. I was only a fetus at the time!

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The article talks about the vaccines “being spurred by major advances in genetic engineering” The ability to manipulate genes and transfer them from one organism to another being called “new found”. The writer goes on to say that “the vaccines represent the first major change in vaccine technology in almost 200 years.”

Instead of using weakened pathogens like viruses and bacteria to make vaccines, the genetically engineered vaccines would use antigens (proteins present on the surface of microbes) to trick the body into recognizing the vaccines active agent as the pathogen itself. The problem with old vaccines is that although it seems simple to weaken  or kill a bacteria or virus, it’s actually quiet difficult. Hence why we don’t have a cure for every infectious disease. According to the article there are difficulties in the new engineered method; in that it’s still tricky to identify the right antigens to elicit the appropriate response from the body. At the time, scientists even hoped to create a multi-purpose vaccine that would present many antigens from many different pathogens.  However:

“But there is a roadblock instead of using just purified antigens as a vaccine, the New York NIH approach uses a whole virus that has been genetically manipulated to carry “foreign” genes from other viruses it is, in essence, a genetically-engineered organism that would be injected into humans. There already are fears-unfounded-the scientists say- about releasing genetically engineered organism into the environment. Federal regulators are likely to be extremely cautious about using such a vaccine in humans.”