This is a huge step in medical history, and will hopefully save millions of lives from malaria every year. Although there are still many years of research to do, this breakthrough could be one of the most significant discoveries ever made when it comes to human health. Every year, countless lives are cut short from the tropical disease, and this vaccine has the potential to save all of those people. There is still a long way to go when it comes to vaccines, but here we discuss how far we’ve come in the history of vaccines, and what this means for us in the future.
Before we dive into the malaria vaccine, we need to understand how vaccines came about in the first place. The history of vaccines can be traced back to 15th century China, where farmers noticed that people who contracted cowpox never got smallpox. This was due to a virus called variola, which is very similar to today’s vaccinia virus. Because of this, it was discovered that if you vaccinated an individual with the cowpox virus, they would become immune to smallpox. This discovery has huge significance, but is not commonly recognized today because of its lack of influence on modern medical advancements.
The next major development in vaccine history did have a large impact however, and this occurred in 1796, when Edward Jenner injected an eight year old boy with cowpox. Then in 1800, he did the same to another eight year old boy James Phipps, only this time he replaced the cowpox with smallpox. As you can see, this is where we get our modern term for vaccination; because Jenner was vaccinating the boys with cowpox, but then replaced the virus with smallpox.
Jenner’s discovery was met by much scepticism at first, but after it showed to be successful in preventing smallpox, his idea became widely adapted. The process of vaccination was still not perfected however. For example, there were many people who contracted severe side effects, and other problems from being vaccinated. This was due to the lack of knowledge surrounding viruses at this time. Also, there were many people who contracted smallpox from being vaccinated for it because the process was not as safe as it is today.
In 1885 Louis Pasteur created a vaccine that became known as PASTEURIZATION. This meant that the vaccine was heat-treated, which eliminated any live viruses and bacteria (which were common in many vaccines at this time). Pasteur’s invention had a significant impact on the understanding of viruses, and it allowed for safer vaccination processes to prevail.
The next big step in vaccine history occurred when Louis Feinstain developed a vaccine for the flu in 1933. This vaccine was very successful, and it led to a number of vaccines that would be produced in the following years. The development of these vaccines is ultimately what led to the big breakthrough in malaria vaccination this year. Due to their effectiveness, many diseases have been eradicated from various parts of the world since the development of the world’s first vaccine.
One example of a disease that has been completely wiped out is smallpox, and we have vaccines for this today. We also have vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella known as MMR. All of these diseases can cause serious issues such as blindness, brain damage and even death if they aren’t treated properly. In the past, these diseases have been major contributors to infant underdevelopment and death rates. Vaccination is now a form of preventing disease, rather than treating it after the fact, which is why vaccines are one of the most significant advancements in human history.