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Medicine Science

Researchers Investigating Self-Boosting Vaccines 218

An anonymous reader writes "Vaccines, contrary to opinions from the anti-science crowd, are some of the most effective tools in modern medicine. For some diseases, a single shot is all it takes for lifetime immunity. Others, though, require booster shots, to remind your immune system exactly what it should prepare to fight. Failure to get these shots threatens an individual's health, and the herd immunity concept as well. Scientists are now looking into 'self-boosting' vaccines in order to fix that problem. Some viruses are capable of remaining in the body for a person's entire lifetime. If researchers can figure out a way to safely harness these, it may be possible to add genes that would create proteins to train the immune system against not just one, but multiple other viruses (abstract). This is a difficult problem to solve; changing the way we do vaccinations will itself have consequences for herd immunity. It also hinges on finding a virus that can survive the immune system without having uncomfortable flare-ups from time to time."
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Researchers Investigating Self-Boosting Vaccines

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  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:47AM (#42085629) Homepage Journal

    use it to fight disease and work for us, not against us... where have I heard that before?

    Oh that's right, just before 90% of human race died, and 6% turned into zombies that ate the rest... except for Will Smith of course.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm pro-vaccine, but engineering a virus to live in your system for an extended period of time (up to the life of the carrier) is scary in a number of ways.

    Others have mentioned the possibility of a mutation taking the previously harmless virus into harmful territory, which is bad enough, but remember this virus has been engineered to survive in your hostile immune system, so if it does mutate, good luck in getting rid of it afterward.

    Less obviously, if it survives in your body indefinitely and activates yo

    • Re: virus living in your system for a long period of time: Chickenpox [] already does this. Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella zoster virus []. After the initial infection, the virus lays dormant in the nervous system of the human infected, and then can flare up in the adult as Herpes zoster [] also known as Shingles because it can appear on the skin in a shingle like shape because of the spreading pattern of the nerve level which is infected by the virus (dermatome).
      I didn't RTFA to see whether it's modifi
      • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @05:33AM (#42085843) Homepage Journal

        Think it through. (I am absolutely pro-vaccine BTW.) The Varicella Zoster lives in your body. You _must_ get chicken pox in order to later get shingles. you don't just "catch shingles". This means that a virus (like zoster) can hang out in your body while your body "forgets" its immune response.

        So this theoretical self-recurring "vaccination" could easily have unintended consequences that wouldn't be knownt until the second or Nth recurrance.

        And every viral recuuance destroys or damages tissue. The sucky thing about shingles is not that it happens, but that the nerve it errupts out of can become perminantly inflamed.

        So the model virus for the idea is kind of a strong example of why the idea might just suck donkey balls. The only way to really test such a long-lasting recurrent phenomonia for a whole lifetime. Think of how long the average hip replacement or surgical mesh was in a body before they started to go bad and people discovered the unintended consequences. And those are just innert physical objects.

        We should be _very_ suspicious of anything "active" that we intend to engineer and put into our bodies as effective viral symbiotes. We haven't even gotten "piece of steel", let along "heart valve", right yet. Self replicating virus is a little ambitious just now.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      And, of course, what does the vaccine virus do if you become immune compromised later, either through disease or as a necessary side effect of medical treatment?

      Clearly, to have a boosting effect, it must do something periodically to challenge the immune system and get beaten back. What if it finds itself unopposed one day?

  • Failure to get these shots threatens an individual's health

    I like.

  • How many of you had taken all vaccine shots "offered" and " ordered" by the state? Are you plethora of health? Do you belive so strongly in vaccine industry so that you would risk your child with it? Or will you demand independent (if that is still possible) evaluation of results of the new vaccines? Instead of flaming war between pro and anti vaccination ,there should be logical view of the stands. I am pro science, also I do not beleive in truthfullnes of "scientific" results offered by the vaccine indus
    • Your 'Do no harm' doctrine is the cause of thousands of kids getting sick of preventable diseases.
      I'm not sure about you, but that seems to be causing an awful lot of harm.

      Are you disputing that vaccines work at all? Or just paranoid about possible side effects?

      Vaccines are taken by the vast majority of Australians. I don't know about the US.
      I have not heard of any ill effects on a wide scale from them. Just the standard effects of perhaps a mild fever after some (which is because you are fighting the virus

  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:29AM (#42086271) Homepage Journal

    for those who have bad reactions to a given vaccine it could mean death or a lifetime of ongoing issues.

    only those in denial won't accept the fact there are exceptions and why most all medical treatments come with warnings.

  • As much as they want to figure out how it works to make their own 'products' they can sell and last forever in your body, maybe this research into making vaccines that last forever will give insight in how to get rid of viruses that last forever. Getting rid of HIV etc? that'd be sweet.

  • This gets old... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binary paladin ( 684759 ) <> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:17PM (#42087291)

    "contrary to opinions from the anti-science crowd..."

    What is the point of this statement? I mean seriously, what's the point? I've been reading this site for years and it just seems to be getting more and more like this—which is not a good thing.

    Who cares what the "anti-science" crowd thinks? Why even bother mentioning them? Why acknowledge their existence, particularly when NOT responding to one directly?

    Just report the fucking story. What some other childishly labeled crowd thinks about it is irrelevant. I can't even get through a remotely interesting story about geology without some asshole making a "the earth is only 6000-years-old" joke. Who... fucking... cares? It's not. We know. We get it. The joke is old and tiresome. I really wish I was coming here to read interesting discussions about the science at hand. Instead, I'm constantly deluged with this kind of childish bullshit.

  • In case the "pro-science" crowd thinks otherwise, plenty of people do not develop immunity after receiving a vaccine. For example, Gardasil is only about 38% effective in preventing cervical cancer. In some cases, the vaccine can cause the disease itself. Or is that too heretical for the pro-science crowd?

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes