There are different types of vaccines available in the market, but how do we classify them? The vaccines are classified based on how the antigen(s), the active compound(s) in the vaccine, and the disease-causing organism are prepared.
Some of the vaccines are viral (live or inactivated), viral vector, or nucleic acid (RNA or DNA).
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Without any further ado, let’s ponder over the different types of vaccines.
Kinds of Vaccines
1. Live attenuated vaccines
These vaccines contain whole bacteria or viruses which are purposefully weakened (or attenuated) so that they create a protective immune response. These types of vaccines do not cause disease in healthy people.
In today’s times, vaccines are ‘weakened’ through genetic modification of the pathogen. It either happens as a naturally occurring phenomenon or through specific modification done by scientists.
These types of vaccines have a strong and long-lasting immune response. But these might not be helpful for people with a weak immune system.
2. Inactivated vaccines
The inactivated vaccines have dead (or inactivated) viruses or bacteria. Therefore, they are different from live but attenuated vaccines. These vaccines are not influenced by antibodies in the host body.
These vaccines are not capable of replicating and always need repeated doses for effect to be achieved. The first dose of the inactivated vaccines is given to prepare the immune system to respond to the pathogen. The second or later doses are given to build a protective immune response.
Since the virus in these vaccines is dead, it interacts in a different way when compared to attenuated vaccines.
3. Subunit vaccines
In place of the entire pathogen, these subunit vaccines only use a component that best triggers the immune system. Though this approach makes vaccines safer, it needs adjuvants to elicit a strong immune response.
The subunit vaccines offer the same effect as whole-cell vaccines; however, these are less likely to cause adverse reactions.
These vaccines are somewhat similar to the subunit vaccines. In conjugate vaccines, the scientists use only portions of the gem. They coat the bacteria molecules with sugar, known as a polysaccharide.
This coating is responsible for hiding or disguising the germ so that an infant’s immune system does not recognize them. Some of the common examples of these types of vaccines are Haemophilus Influenza Conjugate Vaccine (Hib) and Pneumoccocal Conjugate Vaccine (Prevnar®).
5. DNA vaccines
In these vaccines, the scientists extract a part of the germ’s DNA and make copies of it to create a DNA vaccine. There are various studies going on for herpes and influenza.
These are some of the vaccines that are popularly in use across the world. Were you aware of all of them? Or, did you find it helpful? Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet, and stop the spread of diseases smartly.