The season for testing and tracing continues in full swing. Millions are tested positive for the Corona virus and millions remain to be traced for testing. How long will this last? When can I play golf and have my lemonade in the bar, minus the ‘social distancing’ from my friends? The consensus echoes from known medical fraternity, “we need the vaccine!” Every doctor interviewed by sensible anchors of various TV channels tells me “I do not know when we can get it! Maybe a year, two years or many many more years!” This does sound bleak and scary!
In confirmatory to my habit, to dig up the past to understand the present, I did a bit of excavating and came up with some information on the genealogy of the vaccines. Let me share it with you.
The practice of immunization dates back hundreds of years. Buddhist monks drank snake venom to confer immunity to smallpox, and variolation (deliberate inoculation of an uninfected person with the smallpox virus), in 17th century China.
1796 – Edward Jenner is considered the founder of vaccinology in the West, after he inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with vaccine virus (cowpox), and demonstrated immunity to smallpox.
1798 – The first smallpox vaccine was developed. Over the 18th and 19th centuries, systematic implementation of mass smallpox immunization culminated in its global eradication in 1979.
1897 – Louis Pasteur’s experiments spearheaded the development of live attenuated cholera vaccine and inactivated anthrax vaccine in humans (in 1904 ).
1890 and 1950 – Plague vaccine was also invented in the late 19th Century. Bacterial vaccine development proliferated, including the Bacillis-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination, which is still in use today.
1923 – Alexander Glenny perfected a method to inactivate tetanus toxin with formaldehyde.
1926 – Same method was used to develop a vaccine against diphtheria.
1948 – Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine development took considerably longer.
1950-1985 – Viral tissue culture methods developed led to the advent of the the oral polio vaccine. Mass polio immunization has now eradicated the disease from many regions around the world.
I am totally convinced that production of a vaccine for mass common usage does take time; my nerves have calmed down, yet the pervasive uneasiness lingers on. ‘When will I have the book reading function for my new novel?’ No hope in the near future!
There are other studies and experiments concurrently developing on viruses in different parts of the world. A few important ones are:
- The DNA vaccines for producing strong and long term immunity.
- Recombinant (genetically engineered DNA usually incorporating DNA from more than one species of organism) vector vaccines (platform-based vaccines) act like a natural infection, so they’re especially good at teaching the immune system how to fight germs.
Kudos to our scientists and doctors for researching and producing vaccines for increasing our physical immunity thus protecting and enhancing our life spans. However, statistics reveal that our emotional and sentimental frenzies are equally dangerous and catalyze large numbers of deaths regularly. The symptomatic chord is ‘HATE.’ Can people be “inoculated” against hate, in the same manner vaccines enable human bodies to fight disease? Are scientists and doctors in any country engaged in research for immunizing us from hate?
Can the hate mongers be made to feel more angry towards the source of the hate? Making them think that the extremist groups that produce the hate propaganda have no credibility. Make them think that maybe their own beliefs and attitudes are not as secure as they think. Making them realize that the exhortations to violence could be refuted by believing that “protest is fine but violence does not solve the issues but leads to avoidable bloodshed and killings.”
Yes Sir, this is THE vaccine that we need urgently!
A few photographs captured by Jafar Shameem obtained from https://www.jafar.com/ are below for you to linger on.