DNA Vaccine

There are many new and exciting vaccination techniques that offer the promise of improved immunisation against all manner of diseases. One of these techniques involves the use of the genetic material unique to every living thing on the planet, a method referred to DNA vaccination.

What is a DNA vaccine?

DNA vaccines rely on reproducing a microorganisms DNA and using that duplicated genetic material to induce an immune response through vaccination. This technique is still in development, however it has shown promise in immunising against a number of different disease models.

DNA vaccination has only been made possible by recent advances in laboratory technology, which now allows for the genetic material of organisms to be studied in its entirety. A DNA vaccine is little more than duplicated pathogenic DNA injected delivered into the cells of the human body through a vector, usually a specially engineered viral agent.

The DNA itself is chosen because it encodes pathogenic proteins, and once this DNA has made its way into human cells it is expressed by the protein producing machinery of all human cells. Once produced, these pathogenic proteins are then recognised by the body as markers of disease, triggering a natural defensive response.

Part of that response is a system of immune memory which means that any future exposure to those pathogenic proteins would trigger a rapid reaction to quickly clear all signs of the disease causing agent from the system.

How effective are DNA vaccines?

In trials and studies performed thus far DNA vaccines have proven extremely effective at inducing a widespread immune response. The body’s defences are very complex and feature many layers of immunity, all of which need to be triggered for lasting and effective immunisation.

While still in development, findings reported thus far all indicate that this type of vaccination can be extremely effective and reliable.

How safe are DNA vaccines?

Safety is always an important consideration in drug and vaccine development, and until enough human trials of DNA vaccines are performed, it will be difficult to assess the true safety of DNA vaccines.

These vaccines possess the potential to be extremely safe because they don’t involve the introduction of a live pathogen into the system, which means that there is no chance of an actual infection. Some concerns have been raised about the safety of using viral vectors for the delivery of the drug, however these vectors are carefully and designed in such a way that they do not have any effect other than to introduce pathogenic DNA into human cells.

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