What Is Immunization?

Edward R. Murrow: Who owns the patent on this vaccine?
Jonas Salk: Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?

- Jonas Salk - creator of the polio vaccine,

Podcast of the Day

Autism, seizures, and overloaded immune systems. Could these really be side effects of vaccines? This week, we dive into the science to find out how safe vaccines really are. We also talk to public health researchers Prof. Dan Salmon and Prof. Amy Kalkbrenner and neurologist Prof. Ingrid Scheffer.

Listen to the Science Vs. episode: Vaccines: Are They Safe?

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

In 1998, Andrew Wakefield and 12 of his colleagues published a case series in the Lancet, which suggested that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may predispose to behavioral regression and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Despite the small sample size (n=12), the uncontrolled design, and the speculative nature of the conclusions, the paper received wide publicity, and MMR vaccination rates began to drop because parents were concerned about the risk of autism after vaccination.

Almost immediately afterward, epidemiological studies were conducted and published, refuting the posited link between MMR vaccination and autism...

Continue reading Rao & Andrade's article: The MMR vaccine and autism: Sensation, refutation, retraction, and fraud

Further Reading

Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen).

When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, by exposing an animal to an immunogen in a controlled way, its body can learn to protect itself: this is called active immunization.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

Immunization is done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination. Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body's immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Immunization

Bonus Webcomic

Related Topics

Genetics | The Human Body

Become a lifelong learner. Sign up via email to get the best videos, articles and podcasts on a new topic each day. Or you can follow on Twitter or Facebook.

Leave a Reply