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Vaccine technology: Back to the future?

by Bill Osler / March 17, 2009 8:32 PM PDT
Goodbye needle, hello smoothie
This new generation vaccine has big benefits beyond eliminating the "Ouch!" factor. Delivering the vaccine to the gut -- rather than injecting it into a muscle -- harnesses the full power of the body's primary immune force, which is located in the small intestine.

It was not so long ago that we STOPPED using an oral vaccine for polio despite its high effectiveness because it had the ability to cause polio, something the current (actually older) injected vaccine cannot do.

I know that the situations are different and the current proposals won't necessarily involve live attenuated pathogens but still I find it curious how things go in and out of fashion.

Producing a non-infectious oral vaccine is hard. I hope the techniques work but it will be a while before we know for sure.
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makes sense
by James Denison / March 17, 2009 9:47 PM PDT

I've heard drinking boiled local water helps innoculate one to diseases in it. Nature has us capturing nasties in mucus and then typically swallowing it, where it goes through the gut and likely helps trigger early detection of infective sources, starting a fight process quicker. It might explain the reason behind developing food allergies.

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" Producing a non-infectious oral vaccine is hard"
by drpruner / March 17, 2009 9:52 PM PDT

I didn't know that.

Probably you do know that good hygiene in the First World keeps us from getting polio in infancy, when it's mostly harmless. Third World folks seldom get it, but they do get other nasty things we've never heard of. Sad

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And I was just starting
by Angeline Booher / March 18, 2009 12:46 AM PDT

...... to think that it wouldn't be long until the delivery of choice would be via nasal spray. Or even possibly a patch would be appropriate for others.

Me, my husband, and both young children took the polio "sugar cube". The benefits outweighrd the risks.

We are given warnings about so many medical treatments, medications and procedures. Of course, the ideal is at least reducing those risks.

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