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Viruses are a simple, cost effective means of developing biological antibodies against many familiar viral diseases such as small pox, measles, mumps and so forth. Since the introduction of viruses in vaccines, some diseases, including: polio, measles, mumps and rubella have had their deadly influence drastically reduced, and smallpox itself has been completely eradicated. Currently, there are 13 different infectious diseases which can be cured, prevented or eliminated using viral vaccinations.

Basically, a traditional vaccine works as follows: a weakened (attenuated) or dead specimen of the virus is introduced (typically by means of injection) into the body. The body's immune system then develops a specific type of antibody to combat the virus. This is possible only because the virus exists in a weakened or deadened state. Later on, if and when a real virus is reintroduced to the body, the body already contains a strengthened set of immunal antibodies against that particular virus. As such, it is better able to fight of the unwanted viral infection.

Currently, a new type of vaccine referred to as a subunit vaccine is being used for the purpose of internal introduction into peoples with compromised immune systems. These (subunit) vaccines contain only the capsid proteins of the virus, making them non-harmful to peoples with weakened immune systems. Peoples, such as those suffering from aids or even small infants can become infected or even die through the transmission of the virus through a vaccine. The subunit vaccines alleviate fear of this problem by not allowing a weakened biology to become infected through viral intoxication.

Classifications | Functional Uses | History | Intro to Virology | Introduction | Research | Virus Types