Some parents who don’t vaccinate and protect their kids claim that they want better and safer vaccines.
Why does that make them anti-vaccine?
Well, it doesn’t automatically make you anti-anything just because you want things to improve. The “anti-” label comes in when folks start to push misinformation about vaccines, scaring others away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
For example, I want safer cars too, but it doesn’t keep me from driving and riding in the cars we have today.
I’m not anti-car…
Why Can’t We Make Better Vaccines?
But back to the idea of better vaccines, can we make vaccines that are more effective and have fewer side effects?
Folks who read anti-vaccine propaganda are made to think that vaccine manufacturers have no incentive to make better vaccines, even as they push the idea that vaccines are dangerous and don’t work.
“There is a 1 in a MILLION chance of getting a serious reaction to a vaccine.”Making the Vaccine Decision
Still, researchers and vaccine manufacturers are constantly trying to make new and better vaccines.
Unfortunately, there is only so much they can do with current technology.
“The technological approaches for making new vaccines have been growing rapidly in recent decades owing to significant advances in a broad range of interrelated fields, including next-generation sequencing and antibody repertoire analysis, molecular and structural biology, genetics (reverse vaccinology), protein and polysaccharide chemistry, immunology, virology, bacteriology, fermentation, macromolecular purification, and formulation.”Ahmed et al on Technologies for Making New Vaccines
Hopefully that is starting to change and we will soon get a few new and better vaccines.
We will likely even see a new oral polio vaccine to use in outbreak situations soon, even as we get close to withdrawing all use of OPV as part of the endgame strategy!
Making Better Vaccines
And using new technology, we will hopefully have new vaccines against even more diseases.
These technologies include using:
- a recombinant virus or bacteria
- a recombinant virus or bacterial vector
- protein based vaccines with fusion proteins
- peptide based vaccines with B-cell epitopes
- peptide based vaccines with T-cell epitopes
- nucleic acid based vaccines
Researchers are also developing new adjuvants and delivery systems.
“The number of approaches for making new vaccines should continue to expand in the future such that almost all antigens or epitopes could be presented in a highly immunogenic form in the context of a live or inactivated vaccine or be expressed through a DNA-based vaccine. Further understanding of gene function in viral and bacterial pathogens should enable live vaccines to be more stably and predictably attenuated as vaccines and as live vectors for vaccinating against other pathogens. Adjuvant and delivery system technologies should provide formulations that are more potent than aluminum salts, yet are safe and well tolerated, and enable delivery by routes other than injection. Bioinformatics tools should enable the refinement of vaccine antigens to exclude those that are potentially cross-reactive with antigens found in normal human tissue thus limiting the generation of pathogenic autoimmune responses related to molecular mimicry.”Ahmed et al on Technologies for Making New Vaccines
When can we expect these new vaccines?
Probably not soon enough, as few of these vaccines are in phase III trials.
Many, including vaccines that protect against 2019-nCoV, malaria, HIV, RSV, herpes, etc., will be very welcome by most of us.
More on Making Better Vaccines
- Vaccine Analogies and Metaphors
- Immunization Posters and Slogans
- I Don’t Have a Cookie, But I Can Still Give You Measles
- 12 Things Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong
- Ask 8 Questions Before You Skip a Vaccine
- Why Do We Only Worry About Measles?
- CDC – New and Underused Vaccines
- NIH – Making Safe Vaccines
- Ahmed et al on Technologies for Making New Vaccines – Plotkins Vaccines
- Study – Personalized vaccinology: A review
- Study – How advances in immunology provide insight into improving vaccine efficacy
- Study – Communicating Vaccine Safety During the Development and Introduction of Vaccines
- Novel Multivalent Nanoparticle Vaccines
- Welcome to Poliopolis: An nOPV2 clinical trial
- The science is clear: Vaccines are safe, effective, and do not cause autism