Vaccinology (VIR-3178)

Semester: 
Spring

Dear future colleagues,

It is known that the English physician Edward Jenner observed that milkmaids who contracted a mild viral disease called cowpox were rarely victims of a similar but deadly disease called smallpox. This observation led Jenner to infect a healthy young boy with cowpox virus, and six weeks later challenge the boy with fluid from a smallpox pustule; this kind of human testing is a crime punishable by law today. The boy remained free of smallpox. Many would say that the era of vaccinology began from that experiment. However, the truth is that Indians, Arabs, and Chinese were conducting immunization of sheep centuries earlier (whqlibdoc.who.int/smallpox/9241561106_chp6.pdf).

We conventionally define vaccines as harmless or inactivated foreign agents that stimulate the production of protective immunological memory against infection and/or disease. However, vaccines are more than the immunogens they contain; they are pharmaceutical preparations that we will discuss in detail during this course. Modern vaccines are also proteins, small molecules, and nucleic acids. Modern vaccines also contain immunogens that are subunit proteins and small molecules, or nucleic acids that can express important immunogens. New generations of vaccines will significantly improve human health and economy. Moreover, vaccines are being designed to treat existing disease and even prevent cancer (www.vet.uga.edu/research/vmes/.../VMES04.pdf).

Today, vaccines have saved millions of lives and improved the lives of billions more, and humanity has completely succeeded in eradication of some pathogens from specific areas of the world (e.g. smallpox, polio, and rinderpest). However, there are yet several challenges facing the development and/or success of vaccine-based control. These challenges include: (1) the nature of pathogens; (2) the emergence of new pathogens as in the case of SARS-CoV-2; (3) our limited understanding of disease pathogenesis; (4) our limited understanding of immunogenesis; (5) the limitation of current vaccine production technology; (6) the demographic and sociopolitical situation of the world; (7) economic considerations and misdistribution of global wealth.

In this course we will discuss the basic aspects of vaccine development and quality control. We will also focus on innovations that helped improve vaccine quality, efficacy, manufacture process, and economics of vaccine-based control strategies. Regulatory and economic aspects of vaccine development will be discussed when appropriate. Special attention will be given to the ethical aspects of vaccine development and distribution.
Vaccine production in Egypt is at the verge of a once-in-a-generation boom. This course will help you get ready for the market demand. It will help you become better at supporting the Egyptian “Bioshield”. Enjoy!