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Facts you should know about viruses and vaccines

1. The immune system

Unlike other pathogens, viruses multiply within cells in the body. Therefore, to get rid of the virus, you have to kill the cells of the human body, so it is difficult to get rid of it. Fortunately, the human body has a special function to maintain its own healthy state, so when an unfamiliar substance enters the body, it tries to remove it.

This function is called immunity. Immunity sees an unfamiliar substance entering the body as an ‘antigen’ and produces a substance called an ‘antibody’ that can capture and eliminate it. It makes the human body safe by decomposing antigens through the ‘antigen-antibody’ reaction.

However, antibodies do not always beat the antigen. Antibodies are made only after the pathogen enters the body, so if it is made too late or weaker than the antigen, it will not function properly. In this case, we can get sick or even die.

2. What is a vaccine?

Our immune system has good memory. So it remembers the virus that once fought, and the next time the same virus comes in, it quickly produces antibodies that can fight better.

So, if you put a virus for practice before getting sick, it is advantageous to make antibodies to counteract the real virus when it comes in. The weak virus that is put into the human body for practice is a vaccine.

Initially, a vaccine was made from a dead virus and used. This is called a ‘dead vaccine’, and it was this kind of rabies vaccine made by Pasteur in the 19th century.

Today, with the development of science and technology, even living viruses can be artificially eliminated or weakened, and these are called ‘live vaccines’ or ‘attenuated vaccines’.

3. First vaccine developer

In the 18th century, the vaccination of cowpox, which was used by Jenner of England to prevent smallpox, was the beginning. At that time, many people died from smallpox, and women who milk cows were not particularly susceptible to the disease.

Jenner determined that they had become infected with a disease called vaccinia from cattle and then became lightly ill, and then developed resistance to smallpox, and used vaccinia from cattle as a vaccine for smallpox. As a result, smallpox is now the only viral disease that has disappeared from the planet.

This Jenner’s work was passed on to Pasteur in France 100 years later. Pasteur took a hint from Jenner’s vaccinia vaccination and created a vaccine against the rabies virus using a laboratory method of weakening the virus.

Pasteur used the name ‘vaccine’ for the first time, and the vaccine came from ‘vacaa’, which means cow in Latin, and given this name because the vaccine that Jenner used previously used cows.

Founded in Paris in 1888 to commemorate Pasteur’s achievements, the Pasteur Institute is now the world’s leading research institute for microbiology, and is the first to isolate the AIDS virus. Jenner and Pasteur are still respected today as great scientists who pioneered the path of viral research.

4. Viruses that can be prevented by vaccines

Vaccines are artificial antigens that make pathogens or toxins very weak in order to prevent and treat diseases caused by microbial pathogens. Getting the vaccine ahead of time can prevent illness, and even if you get sick, you can pass it lightly. The development of vaccines has played a major role in combating viruses that have killed many people for a long time, such as smallpox, rabies, yellow fever, and measles.

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