This is a very important question. Especially now, scientists around the world are working hard to develop vaccines to protect us from the coronavirus. In fact, scientists are trying to find vaccines for various diseases.
To understand how vaccines are made, first understand how viruses make us sick, and how special cells in our body protect us from infection. need to do it.
The virus is pretty mean
Viruses get sick when they invade our cells. The way this works is a bit complicated — our scientists have to study for years to fully understand it. But you can think of it this way.
The virus can enter the cell using a special key that fits in the outer lock of the cell. Once inside, the virus takes over the cells and forces them to make more viruses by turning them into smaller virus factories.
This is stressful for our cells and can start to make us feel sick. Viruses made in virus factories can spread throughout our body and make us even more ill.
It can also spread from our bodies, infect other people and make them sick.
Your immune system is your defense
Your immune system is made up of immune cells — very special cells that live throughout your body. Their job is to look for signs of infection and protect all other cells in your body when there is a threat.
There are many types of immune cells that work as a team, stop the virus, and even kill it. Two very important immune cells are B cells and T cells.
B cells make secret weapons called antibodies. Antibodies are small Y-shaped particles that are very sticky. It sticks to the entire virus key and does not fit in the cell lock. This prevents the virus from invading and causing an infection.
If the virus slips through B cells and invades our cells, T cells can cope with it — they are the ninjas of our immune system! They kill infected cells to prevent the virus from spreading in our bodies.
Our bodies encounter viruses such as the common cold every day, but the virus does not always get sick because immune cells can protect us. But if the virus has been seen before, our immune cells are much better at their job.
When a new virus, for example coronavirus, is encountered, immune cells cannot immediately recognize it. This gives the virus a chance to infect our cells, which can start to make us sick.
Vaccines teach our immune cells about viruses
All vaccines contain small pieces of the virus that immune cells pick up and begin to show each other. Our B cells and T cells can recognize the small virus and sometimes remember it for years.
The next time you look at the virus, the immune cells immediately recognize it and begin to act.
If our immune cells can act fast enough, we won’t get sick and our body won’t make more viruses that can make others sick. Your immune system is a powerful defense — it protects you daily from infections. However, you may need some vaccine help, especially for new viruses you have never seen before.
Kylie Quinn, Vice President of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University Ph.D. student Palak Mehta RMIT University
This article has been republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.
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