The course begins with the early history of smallpox – the first infectious disease to be eradicated by a vaccination programme. At the end of section 1, we ask you to read an article on the history of smallpox, then, before continuing further with this course, you should turn to the case study on polio, where we discuss the prospects for making this the second infectious disease to be eradicated by vaccination.

At the end of section 5 you will study the mini-lecture on vaccination. You will conclude your study of this chapter by conducting some internet research on the progress of vaccination programmes.

Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define and use, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the terms in bold in the course
  • use examples from the history of vaccination to illustrate the conduct and outcomes of vaccine strategies to control infectious diseases
  • discuss the principle strategies available for developing a vaccine and explain the significance of critical antigens, immunogens and adjuvants in developing effective vaccines
  • identify examples of infectious diseases for which effective vaccines are available and some for which they are not. Explain why it has been scientifically difficult or commercially unprofitable to develop vaccines against certain infectious diseases, and why others have been amenable to control by vaccination
  • discuss the prospects for developing a vaccine against a named infectious disease, given information on its biology and epidemiology, and on the immune response in human hosts.

Course Curriculum

1. Smallpox and the history of vaccination
The smallpox virus 01:30:00
Variolation 01:30:00
Edward Jenner and vaccination with cowpox 01:30:00
Is smallpox still a threat? 01:30:00
2. Active vaccines and passive immunisation
From passive to active 00:00:00
3. Critical antigens and the immune response
How do vaccines work? 01:30:00
4. Strategies for vaccine production
Introduction – Strategies for vaccine production 01:30:00
Intact killed pathogens 01:30:00
Attenuated pathogens 01:30:00
Subunit vaccines 01:30:00
Vaccines of the future 01:30:00
5. Influences on vaccine efficacy
Antigens and immunogens 01:30:00
Adjuvants 01:30:00
6. Challenges to vaccine development
Introduction – Challenges to vaccine development 00:45:00
Zoonoses 01:30:00
Evasion of the immune response 01:30:00
Prion diseases 01:30:00
7. Limitations on vaccination programmes
Limitations 01:30:00
Organisational difficulties 01:30:00
Perceived risk of vaccination 01:30:00
Internet researches into vaccination issues 01:30:00
Acknowledgements – Vaccination 00:00:00
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