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Types of Vaccines (1): Live Attenuated Vaccines and Inactivated Vaccines

by Peter Delves, PhD
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    Anything has an advantage and a disadvantage, and vaccines are no exception to that. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of live attenuated vaccines? Well the advantages are that they mimic the natural infection, and thus provide an appropriate immune response. They stimulate the right type of immune response for protection against that particular pathogen. They can stimulate both humoral, in other words the antibody mediated, and the cell mediated responses involving cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. And they typically generate long term immunity with a reduced need for booster immunizations. I mean the Holy Grail if you like, of vaccination is one shot lifelong protection. And the less number of boosts you give-- need to give, the better obviously. What about the disadvantages? Well there is a slight potential to revert back to virulent forms. They’re still alive, they’ve been altered so they are not nearly as pathogenic as the normal pathogen. But they could undergo mutations that would make them unacceptably pathogenic. They often require refrigeration. They have the potential to spread from one vaccinee to another person. So somebody being given this vaccine could then pass this live organism on to somebody else. And they are contraindicated in the immunocompromised due to the risk of significant pathology. In immunologically intact individuals, these live organisms are dealt with perfectly adequately, they don’t cause significant pathology. But it an individual with a compromised immune system, for example somebody with an immunodeficiency, or somebody being treated with immunosuppressive drugs, perhaps because they have received a transplant. Then these organisms can actually cause significant pathology. An important aspect of live attenuated vaccines-- is that they replicate at the site of infection. So here we can see a live vaccine that is replicating at the mucosal surface. And this provides a really appropriate type...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Types of Vaccines (1): Live Attenuated Vaccines and Inactivated Vaccines by Peter Delves, PhD is from the course Vaccine Immunology. It contains the following chapters:

    • A Closer Look at Live Attenuated Vaccines
    • A Closer Look at Inactivated Vaccines

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Rotavirus
    2. Hepatitis A virus
    3. Rabies virus
    4. Japanese encephalitis virus
    5. Tick borne encephalitis virus
    1. Mimic natural infection
    2. Can be spread from vacinee
    3. Cannot be administered to immunocompromised patients
    4. Often require refridgeration
    5. Potential to revert back to virulent form
    1. Tick borne encephalitis
    2. Rotavirus
    3. Yellow fever
    4. Rubella
    5. BCG

    Author of lecture Types of Vaccines (1): Live Attenuated Vaccines and Inactivated Vaccines

     Peter Delves, PhD

    Peter Delves, PhD


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