Can Vaccines Be Used To Fight Super Bacteria?
If you have ever had a really bad ear-ache. You go to the doctors and and, after he or she has checked your ears the possibility of you being prescribed an antibiotic is high. What happens if the antibiotic is not taken as prescribed? Sometimes nothing happens, but occasionally the bacteria linger and build up a resistance to the specific antibiotic. This can also happen with viruses and vaccines.
A vaccine is a variation of a particular disease that cannot reproduce. It is manipulated so that it can’t do any harm but it is so similar to the harmful version it stimulates antibodies to the disease and so builds up immunity within the person to that disease.
The current issue with antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one that is also causing concern and study within the medical community in relation to vaccines. What if a virus which causes a disease, such as polio or measles (both caused by viruses), mutates with the result that the vaccine stops working?
Antibiotics are prescribed when bacteria are present usually in large numbers) within the human body. We are subject to attack from many bacteria every day and normally, the body’s immune system can overcome most of the common bacteria found in the world.
There are bacteria however, that infect the body and overpower the immune system, and as a result a little help from antibiotics is needed.
A disease such as measles or even the flu (influenza) is not caused by bacteria but by a virus and if a part of a strand of it’s DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) mutates or changes then any vaccine used to prevent the disease may stop working however usually a modified vaccine can be produced to match the mutated virus.
If you consider influenza (flu). Normally each year a new or diffferent version of the virus is found to be responsible for the “flu”. But once the version is identified a vaccine is created to prevent the illness from spreading.
A viral disease, like the flu, is not affected by antibiotics and must be treated in a different way. In fact, once the disease is caught, the human body must weather through it because by that point a vaccine would normally be useless.
There are a small number of viral illnesses, for example the rabies virus, that will respond to a vaccine if it is administered early enough, however, vaccines must normally be administered in advance for the body to be effectively protected.
Vaccines have saved countless lives over the last century and unlike their antibiotic cousins, have not shown to create mutations in the viruses they are preventing. As a result scientists are now debating whether or not vaccines can come into play in treating bacterial infections, particularly where antibiotics are failing.
Should this become a reality, individuals currently defenseless against the super bacteria (such as MRSA) could find themselves once again able to fight off these threats to life and health. The possibilities of a disease becoming resistant to the vaccine are almost negligible.