11.1 Defence Against Infectious Diseases
Here is TED 2010 talk from Seth Berkley on how smart advances in vaccine production and design are taking us closer to solutions to global virus problems such as HIV and flu:
Rotavirus Vaccine: A Success Story in Action
Matthew Herper’s short article in Forbes includes this graph, which is a clear link to the efficacy of the rotavirus vaccine. You can access the full pdf from the New England Journal of Medicine here (also brief, with a better graph).
Some questions to think about, connecting this case to the curriculum (11.1 AHL: Defense Against Infectious Disease):
- How does the rotavirus infect its host?
- Why does diarrhea lead to death?
- What type of vaccine is this and how is it produced?
- What challenges are still to be overcome?
The rotavirus vaccine has been a big part of the Bill Gates Foundation’s work, and they have a short video on it here:
Vaccines, Scares and Ethics:
With unfounded scare-stories and media hype comes anti-vax campaigning and a decline in vaccination rates. What are the ethical, economical and health issues related to this? How can it be resolved?
Why fear of vaccination is spilling into the developing world, from the Guardian.
More vaccination news:
This is pretty awesome: Flu breakthrough promises a vaccine against all strains, from the Guardian. Read it and summarise how this team are working on their solution.
Polio reappears in India, as a result of oral vaccination, from Wired.com
Yet this argues that increased immunisation is winning the war on Polio in India, from the Guardian
Vaccination rates drop in wealthier kids, due to autism rumours, from Time Healthland. Which has led to this even more worrying story – Measles escapes Europe to cause infections elsewhere as a result of low uptake of vaccines. Grrr…
Can we stop polio for good?
Also, Carl Zimmer writes in Slate: “Strain Game - Could information about a lab-made virus really help evildoers create a biological weapon?“
Key terms: immunity, immune, clonal, response, polyclonal, antibody, antigen, epitope, clotting, factors, thrombin, prothrombin, metabolic pathway, fibrinogen, fibrin, erythrocytes, clot, challenge, selection, memory cells, active, passive, macrophage, helper T-cells, B-cells, plasma cells, clone cells, antibodies, monoclonal, tumour, hybridoma, ELISA, HIV, vaccine, primary, secondary, herd immunity,