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How exactly are vaccines made? Like how do you make a brand new one? For smallpox, the first vaccine came from cowpox (or possibly horsepox). People didn't know what viruses were, but horsepox happened to be similar enough to generate the same antibodies, but not kill people.

But I've never seen a good documentary on how vaccines are made for diseases today. YouTube just seems to be filled with professor's lectures from introclasses. Are live viruses used and, if so, how are they made inert yet cause the immune system to generate the same antibodies?

Anyone have a documentary with the technical details of any of the modern vaccine generation techniques?

Basically, there are three primary approaches to safely introducing antigens to the immune system: you can inactivate (or kill) a virus through methods such as heat treatment; you can attenuate it (make it less well-adapted to humans) by introducing it into foreign hosts until its adaptive mutations make it safe for humans; or you can synthesize molecular antigenic subunits and introduce those on a viral carrier or with chemicals to stimulate an immune response. Experience with inactivated SARS vaccines suggests that protection is incomplete and, worse yet, the vaccines trigger immunopathic responses that can cause serious damage. Most focus is on subunit vaccines, but s-protein-based vaccines in feline coronavirus have been shown to actually worsen the effects of reinfection, so researchers are understandably cautious.

Maybe not a documentary but I remember seeing some discussions on Reddit

But basically it's more complicated than the usual "attenuated live virus/dead virus".

Tou can have synthetic vaccines, targeting different parts of the virus. Also there are several ways of attenuating pathogens (look up the bcg vaccine for one interesting example)


Doesn't answer your question but hints at the complexity.

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