Published on February 24, 2021   32 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Immune System - Key Concepts and Questions

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Hello, my name is Anita Milicic. I lead the Vaccine Formulation Group at The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. This lecture will cover the concept of vaccination and different aspects of vaccine development.
Vaccination is widely considered the most transformative human health intervention in history. Its role in global health security as well as economic prosperity has come into sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to saving lives, vaccination contributes to better health, longevity, and high productivity and will be a vital tool in the battle against antimicrobial resistance. This photograph from the early 1900s shows two boys, one of whom had been vaccinated against smallpox. Smallpox was a terrible disfiguring disease with around 30 percent mortality. There is evidence of it dating back to the Egyptian mummies. A vaccine was developed in the 19th century and over the next 100 years, worldwide immunization efforts finally lead to smallpox elimination. In the recent years, we have witnessed the emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential bringing new challenges for vaccine developers. The link below is an excellent general source of information on all licensed vaccines.
The principle of vaccination or variolation as it was termed originally dates back to at least 15th century China. There are written descriptions of widespread practices that involved grinding up dried smallpox scabs and inhaling the powder or scratching it into the skin in the attempt to prevent often deadly natural infection. The practice which was essentially passing the infectious material from one person to the other, spread through the 17th and 18th centuries across the Middle East and Africa. The first scientific proof that vaccination can