Updated: Jun 18, 2021
Author: Chad Cai
Editors: Shamsia Ahmed and Kira Tain
Artist: Denise Suarez
The development of solutions towards various diseases is an exciting and essential part of the history of science, and vaccines are an effective weapon that we’re still using right now.
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. It typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of either the microbes, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. By stimulating the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, one’s body can learn, identify, and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with the agent the body might encounter in the future.
Edward Jenner discovered that dairy workers would never have the often-fatal or disfiguring disease like smallpox, because they already had contracted cowpox, which has a very mild effect on humans. In 1796, Jenner took pus from the hand of a milkmaid with cowpox, scratched it into the arm of an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps, and six weeks later inoculated the boy with smallpox; then, she observed that he did not catch smallpox. This was the story behind how the first vaccine was developed and contributed significantly to defeating smallpox.
Right now, researchers around the world are developing more than 165 vaccines against
the coronavirus, and 30 vaccines are in human trials. Vaccines typically require years of
research and testing before reaching the clinic, but scientists are racing to produce a safe and effective vaccine by the next year. Since January, scientists have been working on the development of vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccine from the Chinese company CanSino Biologics had already passed the phase 1 and phase 2 tests. Now it’s subjected to phase 3 and has been approved for early use in Saudi Arabia. It has displayed a promising strong immune response during trials. We can soon expect them to pass the final trial and become an excellent weapon for us.
Corum, Jonathan, et al. Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker. 10 June 2020,