Currently, various countries are competing to make a vaccine to end the Coronavirus outbreak that causes the Covid-19 pandemic. Actually, how do vaccines work so that they can end an infectious disease outbreak? Come on, let’s find out!
Made from Virus and Bacteria
The first vaccine discovered in the world was the smallpox vaccine. This vaccine was discovered in 1796 by Edward Jenner, a doctor from England. In the following years, other vaccines were discovered. Louis Pasteur discovered the rabies vaccine in 1885. This was followed by the discovery of diphtheria, tetanus, cholera, and tuberculosis vaccines in the 1930s.
Actually, vaccines are made from bacteria and viruses. However, the bacteria and viruses had already been weakened or killed. There are also vaccines that are made from certain parts of the virus, for example, only from protein or from toxic parts that have been processed in the laboratory. For this reason, vaccines are harmless when injected into the human body.
Everyone Needs to Be Vaccinated
Vaccines are given when we are little. In fact, before we are one year old, we must receive five vaccines, namely hepatitis B vaccine, BCG vaccine to prevent tuberculosis, polio vaccine, measles vaccine, and pentavalent vaccine to prevent diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT). As we grow up, other vaccines are added to our bodies.
Oh yes, vaccines are not just for children. Adults also need to be vaccinated, especially the elderly and people who will be traveling abroad for a long time. Because there are some diseases that only exist in certain countries and do not occur in our country.
If everyone received the vaccine, the disease would not be easily transmitted and not become an epidemic. Millions of people are healthy and safe. In fact, certain diseases can become extinct. One example is the smallpox disease which was finally declared extinct in 1980.
Exercise for the Body
Although not dangerous, when the vaccine enters our body, the antibodies will still perceive the vaccine as a threat. Antibodies are like soldiers that protect our bodies from attacks by disease-carrying enemies.
Well, that’s when our antibodies will attack bacteria or viruses that enter the body through vaccines. Antibodies regard the bacteria or virus as a dangerous enemy that must be fought.
Interestingly, our antibodies will continue to remember the type and method of incapacitating the bacteria or virus in the vaccine. Yes, antibodies will detect or recognize every enemy that enters the body.
So, when a similar bacteria or virus comes back, our antibodies already recognize it and know how to fight it. Then, the antibodies will attack and paralyze the enemies. Well, thanks to antibodies and vaccines, our bodies become immune to bacterial or virus attacks.
However, our antibodies must also continue to learn and remember the types and ways of immobilizing bacteria or viruses so that our bodies remain immune. Hence, there are some vaccines that need to be given repeatedly.