The Future of Immunization

Vaccines in India have been saving human life from the past 200 years and more. The worldwide vaccination campaign has successfully eradicated various life threatening diseases. Childhood vaccinations have contributed substantially in reducing the mortality rate and subsequently saving the future of the country.

As the research and development to inoculate continue to combat the present challenges, the future of immunization still remains untouched evolution. Diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, Leishmaniasis continue to baffle the researchers.

From among the various hurdles impeding the development of an effective vaccination for these diseases, a few are mentioned below-

• Lack of infrastructure
• Inefficient knowledge
• Scarcity of research and development resources
• Dispersed population
• Monetary impediments of developing countries Continue reading

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Opportunities of Developing Thermostable Vaccines

As per the definition, ‘’Thermostability is the quality of a substance to resist irreversible change in its chemical and physical structure under high relative temperature”. Vaccine Thermostability means to safeguard the potency of a vaccine. A vaccine has a tendency to lose its potency quotient over a period of time. The ratio of loss and subsequent stability of a vaccine is temperature specific. Read on to find out various approaches of formulating thermo stable vaccination.

Temperature Manipulation in Cold Chain systems

To maintain temperature stability, development of Cold-Chain systems was devised. An ideal range to preserve the potency of vaccines is between 2 and 8 degree Celsius. Intense refrigeration requires temperature manipulation to support potent vaccination.

The Cold-Chain operations traditionally focused on shielding vaccines from excessive heat that resulted in inadvertent high intensity cooling, damaging the vaccines’ integrity. This resulted in increasing demand of freeze sensitive vaccines for immunization programs. The challenge occurred to develop affordable vaccines, since freeze sensitive vaccines are affluent.

Developing Thermostable Liquid formulation

Liquid vaccination has been the ‘default’ immunization since their being. It is the most straight-forward approach towards vaccination. Freeze dried formulations were devised to achieve adequate stability. Today’s leading research and development vaccine developers, give preference to liquid vaccine formulations over dry formulations, given to the ease they offer in packaging and usability. Among the new methods in developing thermo stable liquid vaccine for immunization to ensure stability is screening method. Wherein, the properties of solvent, for example, buffer, pH and salt concentration, is optimized to seek stable immunization.

The possible causes of instability in liquid formulations is disseminated below-

  • Instability of proteins in solution
  • Change in physical and chemical process
  • Chemical instability is due unfavorable reactions like, oxidation, hydrolysis etc.
  • Live-attenuated vaccines are extremely vulnerable due to the dire need to maintain viability of infectious organism.
  • Lipid bi-layer envelope of viruses like the measles virus is exposed to damage.
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Everything about vaccine testing and research

The development of vaccines includes an extensive research of 10-15 years. Vaccine research and development in India has involved scientists from around the globe. Read on further to know more about the research work and testing tasks involved in developing a vaccinum.

Vaccine Thermostability

  1. Lab research work

The foremost step in such type of research is to do several years of lab work. In such type of lab work, researchers and scientists indentify a specific antigen for preventing a disease.

  1. Clinical trials

Three phases of clinical trials are carried out after the test vaccinum is approved by an authorized body. The clinical trials are carried out upon human volunteers. The clinical trials take a lot of years to get completed. Such clinical trials are performed for:-

• Analyzing the efficacy of the vaccine
• Analyzing appropriate dosage value
• Monitoring adverse side effects

The final phase of the trial takes thousands of human volunteers.

  1. Role of authorized body and other agencies in vaccine development

The clinical trials are performed under the guidance of officials from the authorized body. These officials oversee every batch of vaccinum and its overall production. In addition, the officials check a vaccine for its safety on several parameters. Apart from an authorized body, NGOs and vaccine research companies collect, track as well as analyse data for ensuring safety of a vaccinum.

  1. How flu vaccines are different from other variants?

Unlike a normal vaccinum, such as conjugate pneumococcal vaccine, a seasonal flu vaccine is developed on a yearly basis. The antigen in a flu vaccinum changes on an annual basis, however, its entire production process and criteria remain unchanged. Scientists along with several researchers determine which flu is the likeliest to get circulated in the next season. Based on such analysis, vaccinologists change the antigen and develop a new flu vaccine.

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As the growing children are prone to get infected easily, it is recommended that essential vaccines are given to them in the early days, which continues for few years. One of the important vaccines amongst all is Conjugate pneumococcal Vaccine. Thisvaccine is used to protect infants and young children from disease caused by the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). A type of PCV called Prevnar is specially designed to stop seven of about ninety pneumococcal serotypes which are so strong that can cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD). IPD kills over one million children every year across the world.


Therefore, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in India is the only effective public health tool that has the potential of reducing the burden of pneumococcal diseases.


The vaccination of Conjugate Pneumococcal (PCV)protects thechildren from pneumococcal disease. During the course of vaccination, it is important to ensure that scheduling is done for ensuring that it protects the human body best. It must be given on regular intervals so that body responds to it and acts effectively. It is also concluded that routine childhood vaccination helps in reducing pneumococcal disease in adults, especially in high-risk adults having HIV/ AIDS.

Safety and Tolerance:

The PCV creates a moderately high rate of discomfort at the injection site such as pain, redness and swelling. However, the discomfort is tolerable. The PCV is relatively safe in adults.

On the other hand, the Hepatitis A is a liver disease transmitted via food that causes fever and jaundice. This is one of the most common diseases in children and has effective precautionary vaccines for protection. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic and has many different causes including a group of viruses namely A, B, C, D, and E hepatitis viruses. It can also be caused due to various other viruses. In addition, people can develop hepatitis from other things such as fat buildup in the liver, trauma or an autoimmune process.

To protect people from this disease, Hepatitis A Vaccine is given to adults, adolescents, and children making them immune to HAV infection. It is recommended to take two doses of the vaccine for complete protection from the virus. The Hepatitis A Vaccine cost is approximately Rs, 1200.

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New Methods Of Vaccine Delivery

The humankind has been riddled with maladies. Several medicines and vaccines came in the wake of advances in medicinal technology. Many vaccinums are administered through injections. Syringes, needles and qualified medical personnel are required for giving injections. Research works point that injections cause both pain and stress. For averting pain and stress, researches are undertaken to develop new vaccine delivery methods. Read on to know.

Inhaled vaccines

Inhaled vaccines are among the first steps to minimize the use of needles. For example, influenza can be controlled through an inhaled vaccine called Flu Mist. Measles is another disease for which the inhaled vaccinum are tested. Similar to the inhaled vaccinum, another type is developed that can be delivered through lungs.

Needle-free patch

This technique heralded the concept of micro needle. In needle-free patch, an array of disc-shaped micro needle is put to use. A micro needle is made of sugar, and it dissolves within five minutes of penetration in the skin. Additionally, the needle-free patch technique maintains stability and efficacy of a live vaccine even in room temperature. The technique is the best alternative to the painful hypodermic needles.

Oral vaccines

Maladies such as cholera and polio are cured using oral vaccines. Research works are afoot for deriving oral vaccinum to protect against tuberculosis. As per several biological studies, orally developed vaccinums produce higher immune response than any of their injected DNA counterparts.

Advent of Transcutaneous Immunization

Researchers, vaccinum developers and biologists have undertaken several studies to understand the skin immune system. Such studies have led to the growth of Trans cutaneous Immunization (TCI). The TCI acts as an alternative route to offer higher immunization.

Breakthrough took place in the realm of vaccinum with the development of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine: it is meant for protecting young children and infants against pneumonia causing bacteria. Several vaccinum developers are cashing in on technological advancements to make the world a better place to live in.


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Rotavirus And Its Vaccine

Among the most common causes for a child’s death all around the globe has been diarrhea caused by rotavirus.  Prior to the advent of a rotavirus vaccine, the virus had resulted in 400,000 visits to the doctor and close to 500,000 deaths of children (below five years of age) per year; most of these children belonged to developing countries. The virus targets infants of a particular age group (3 months – 2 years). Infants who live in day care and are not breastfed adequately become predisposed to the condition.


Causative agents and symptoms of the virus

Being a double-stranded RNA virus that belongs to reovirus family, rotavirus can only be studied under an electron microscope. Furthermore, the virus has a wheel shape, due to which it is known as rota – the Latin for wheel. Different species as well as subtypes of Rotavirus have been formed, which are known for affecting the digestive system of humans.

Some common symptoms of rotavirus are:-

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain


The rotavirus is transmitted when the waste of an infected person enters the mouth of an individual – fecal-oral route. Such instances easily occur through objects (toys) and contamination of hands. Owing to such reasons the virus spreads quickly among children. In some cases, the virus is transmitted to people coming in close contact with the infected child.

The virus is resilient and fatal as even the standard hygiene measures such as washing hands or drinking clean water will not be able to control it.


The rotavirus children can be cured with the help of a vaccine (administered on babies in two doses). With the advent of a vaccine for rotavirus, the cases of infection have fallen dramatically. In the development of rotavirus vaccine India vaccine laboratories have played a crucial role.


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How Smallpox Faced A Complete Eradication?


Whenever a particular illness stops its circulation in a particular region, it is considered eliminated from that area. However, if the disease is eliminated from the entire face of the earth, then the phenomenon is called disease eradication.  To ensure both eradication and elimination of the disease, vaccine development is given the highest priority; the next slot in the vaccine researchers’ to-do list is secured by clean and quick vaccine delivery.

The first-ever disease eradication

Thus far, only one disease, smallpox, has been eradicated in 1980. The decades of initiatives taken by the World Health Organization (WHO) led World Health Assembly to declare smallpox disease as eradicated. Prior to its eradication, the long-in-the-tooth disease had claimed 35% lives of the infected people and left many hapless blind or scarred.

The eradication of smallpox was possible by coordinated efforts put in by the WHO and other health organizations. A well-structured surveillance was the key to eradicate smallpox from its root that had spread all over the world. As soon as a new case of smallpox was registered, the health officials were required to identify other such fresh cases in the same region and administer Ring Vaccination.  The final case of smallpox was reported in Somalia (1977).

Why smallpox was simpler to eradicate?

  • Also referred to as variola, smallpox had an obtrusive presence as its patients quickly developed a peculiar form of rashes.
  • Second, the time taken for the symptoms to appear was shorter than other diseases
  • Third, such short duration had helped in quickly administering the vaccination and containing the disease
  • Final nail in the coffin was when the WHO took consistent efforts to introduce immunization chart for variola and train the vaccinators. This step was taken to protect those who were not having lifelong immunity to the disease.

With the complete eradication of variola, many hopes were raised to eliminate other maladies such as malaria, polio, dracunculiasis, to mention but a few.

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