Vaccination is a life-saving intervention, infections that once killed millions are now preventable. But there is still work to be done, many pathogens remain and there are still infections against which we have little defence.
Nature Outlook |
Vaccines have been a tremendous force for good in the world. Numerous infections that once claimed millions of lives are now preventable. But many of these pathogens are patiently waiting for an opportunity to regain a foothold, and there are still infections against which we have little defence.
In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner introduced the first vaccine, for smallpox, when he infected a young boy with cowpox. In the years since, vaccines — a name derived from the Latin word for cow — have been developed for many diseases, saving millions of lives. But the fight to conquer infectious disease continues.
A vaccine candidate for HIV steps into phase III trials, signs emerge that antibiotics impair vaccine performance, and other highlights from clinical trials and laboratory studies.
Infants and those over 65 are at the highest risk of infectious disease. A better understanding of age-specific immunity is needed to design vaccines that work for them.
As the first vaccine against the malaria parasite begins to roll out, scientists are working on a wide variety of alternatives that they hope will provide more protection.
Microbiologist Jeffrey Bethony details progress in efforts to protect people from hookworms and schistosomiasis.
Passing on short-term immunity to offspring is common in vertebrates, but plants and invertebrates take transgenerational immunity much further.
Anthropologist Heidi Larson calls for dialogue to reassure people about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
When immunization rates dip, legislation is often strengthened. But does the evidence stack up?
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