Tag Archives: virus

Antibiotic Resistance

 

Antibiotics have been around since the 1920’s and play a huge role in the treatment of bacterial infections. But when used incorrectly, antibiotics can do more harm than good.

Treating infections is becoming increasingly more difficult. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance, which happens when the bacteria changes to survive antibiotics.

This can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria–superbugs. Continue reading

Viral Vaccine Immunology

What happens after you are injected with a viral vaccine? And which viral vaccine type is best?

(Note that I’m going to be talking about viral vaccines ONLY.)

First of all, there two basic types of viral vaccines: live attenuated vaccines (LAV) and inactivated (killed) vaccines.

LAV contain a vaccine virus that is a weakened version of the natural disease-causing virus. Inactivated vaccines use a killed version or a part(s) of the natural virus.

The body’s response to the vaccine virus in relation to the natural disease-causing virus has to do with the type of vaccine being administered, as well as how similar the vaccine virus is to the natural virus.

I’m going to go ahead and stop saying “vaccine virus”, and start calling this the “antigen”. An antigen is something foreign (in this case) that the body makes an immune response to, or something that’s the target for an immune response.

An inactivated vaccine contains all of the antigen needed to induce an immune response in the injected dose. Once it is injected into the muscle, the immune system begins to respond to this antigen. The LAV works a bit differently. There is only a very tiny amount of live weakened virus, and it must use the host body’s cells to reproduce in order to create the proper immune response. Once a LAV is injected into the muscle, the antigen migrates to the appropriate tissue in order to begin replication. The “appropriate tissue” in this case would be the tissue the natural virus would normally infect and replicate in.

Because the vaccine virus is so similar to the natural virus in LAV, these vaccines create an immune response virtually identical to the natural infection. The inactivated vaccine’s response is similar, yet one drawback is that immune stimulation occurs at the site of injection and not at the site of natural viral replication.

Continue reading

Descendants of human fetal cells in the making of vaccines

shot and vialAre there fetal cells in vaccines? No. Do some vaccines contain viruses grown in cells from human fetal origin? Yes. But, I feel this needs some explanation.

And before I get started, this isn’t meant to be a debate or opinion article. These are just the facts as I’ve researched them. And before I get into the issue at hand, you’re going to be getting a microbiology lesson…

The cell theory states: All cells arise from pre-existing cells.

Remember the term mitosis from biology class? That’s how parent cells make their daughter cells. The parent cell replicates all of their chromosomes into two sets and then splits into two cells, leaving one set of chromosomes in each cell. That’s it, in a nutshell. This happens over and over and over: parents forming daughters, and daughters becoming parents and forming more daughters. Continue reading

The Beautiful Immune System Lesson 7: The Beginning Innate Immune Response to a Microbe

Before reading this post, you may want to go back and read about innate immunity and the cell types that carry out these types of responses. Here.

The innate immune system is our first line of defense against microorganisms. It not only blocks the entry of such things, but also can limit or completely eliminate the growth of these organisms on our tissues.

The skin is one of the most important barriers in the innate system, as well as the tissues along the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory tracts. The continuous epithelial tissues along these tracts also serve as barriers from the organisms of our outside environment. I like to think about it this way: the opening of the mouth and nose down to the exit point in our backside is a tube, and this tube   needs protection from microorganisms that may attempt to enter it.

Should an organism successfully breach these barriers, the innate immune system brings in cells to take care of the situation. Continue reading

The Seasonal Influenza Virus Vaccine

It’s flu season again. And you have a decision to make. Should you get the flu vaccine this year?

Before you get started educating yourself on the influenza vaccine (and I applaud you for doing so), you may want to read the previous two articles in this flu education series:

  • So many people are confused about what influenza really is because the word “flu” is often misused and confused for various other sicknesses going on in the body. To familiarize yourself with the true flu symptoms and to understand why you should get vaccinated, please read: What is influenza, “the flu?”
  • Understanding a little more about how the influenza virus is constructed and how it mutates is also important in grasping why we all need to get the flu shot every year. I think you’ll be interested in reading more about the virus that causes the flu and learning: Why do we keep getting the flu over and over again?

Now that you’ve become flu savvy and have decided you are ready to make the choice to look into getting the vaccine, it’s important to know all you can before deciding which vaccine may be best for you and your loved ones. Continue reading