The quality of life has improved because of many developments that have taken place through time. These improvements bring convenience into our lives. Some of them have drastically changed the way we live, most especially those advancements on health. These improvements such as medicine, medical apparatus and procedures not only make life easier; they help in prolonging it. Because of greater knowledge and advanced technology, there are treatments or preventive solutions for many diseases that during the earlier times were feared because they were then deadly.All of these would not have been possible were it not for ideas that were put into action.
People can get sick any day. There are many environmental factors that can contribute to this discomfort. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2003), there are certain illnesses that most of us nowadays don’t even know much on that were as serious and as deadly as AIDS or cancer.
“Diseases such as diphtheria, whopping cough, rubella, measles and smallpox affected and killed thousands of people during the 19th and early 20th century”. These would still continue to scare people if it weren’t for the idea of vaccines.Campbell (1996) emphasizes that “deterrence of viral infections is possible because of vaccines. ” NIAID further discloses that people may even have encountered microbes that cause these diseases, but because of vaccines, remain unharmed (2003). These will be detailed in the following paragraphs. NIAID states that the introduction of vaccines provided an “artificial means of immunity”. Long before the idea of vaccines was conceptualized, people become resistant to diseases “through natural means” (2003).
This meant that affected people would experience the illness, sometimes even endangering their lives.A lot did not live through the conditions. NAIAD says that “Vaccines consist of the microbes that cause diseases themselves. ” Campbell explains that the reason why it has become a means of medical defense is because “the microbes in vaccines are less virulent”, and are only enough to rouse the immune system to produce antibodies that combat the bacteria or virus (1996).
Because of this, the affected person is then protected from the disease, as the immune system is able to “identify, remember and reproduce” the same antibodies when exposed to the antigen triggering the immune response.The term vaccine has its origin from the Latin word vacca, which means cow (Campbell, 1996; NIAID; 2003). This is so named because the first vaccine that was successfully utilized was comprised of a relatively less potent cowpox virus. The cowpox virus infected cows and was able to infect humans as well.
This vaccine was used to treat the similar smallpox infection, which according to NIAID “caused fever, blindness, scarring sores or even death” in many areas of the world.The cowpox virus worked on the small pox virus because as Campbell (1996) and NIAID (2003) explained both viruses are analogous that they cause the same immune response. References have attributed the first vaccine to an English physician named Edward Jenner. He made the vaccine for smallpox. These references (NIAID and Campbell) further detail how he came about with the idea.
The idea came to Dr. Jenner, who was then talking to his patients in the English countryside. He found out from his patients that there were milkmaids that were resistant to smallpox infections.This resistance was acquired after the milkmaids became infected with the cowpox disease. Dr. Jenner then had the idea of infecting a person with the milder cowpox disease to see if it would allow people to be immune to smallpox. To test whether his idea was substantial, Dr.
Jenner used a young healthy farm boy who neither had cowpox nor smallpox prior to the experiment and a milkmaid infected with cowpox. Fluid obtained from the infected milkmaid was introduced to the boy. After six weeks, the boy was exposed to smallpox, but never got the illness, which confirmed Dr. Jenner’s idea.By introducing a less virulent form of the pathogen that the infected person was able to tolerate, the required immune response prevented the person from contracting subsequent infections. This idea and the following experiment of his, which was conducted in 1796 led to the recognition of the basic concept of immunization.
NIAID (2003) further stresses that this “provided the foundation for the vaccines we now have for numerous diseases. ” Vaccines may have their disadvantages; but the help it has contributed in the elimination of many diseases is revolutionary by itself.“Vaccines have helped change the people’s view on health and disease prevention, aside from lowering mortality rate. ” NIAID (2003) gives the following examples of the help the idea of vaccines gave. With vaccines made available, people now have a safer, easier and practical option to avoid catching infectious diseases. Because vaccines work on the basis of generating and reproducing antibodies using milder variants of the disease, “vaccines allow the prevention of the disease from occurring” in the first place (2003).This provides people with convenience and safety, as they do not have to suffer from the disease to be “immune”.
As an effect, it is then practical because prevention of the disease is more economical than curing the disease itself. In addition, if an outbreak of an infectious disease is prevented through vaccination, transmission from one person to another will less likely occur, thus protecting not only one person but also a community. NIAID (2003) also shows how vaccines are being modified to accommodate people.Vaccines for other diseases are still being studied and enhanced to keep up with mutating disease-causing organisms so they will not threaten the health of people.
Many new vaccines are being researched and created for other diseases, such as vaccines for cervical cancer or even HIV. The application of vaccines is also being improved to accommodate people with low tolerance for pain. It is remarkable how from a single idea, someone can drastically change not only one person’s life, but also the lives of people all over the world.