Vaccines: How Pathogens Work Against Disease

vaccine syringe
By Ayisha Malik, Marketing Content Specialist
Vaccine development has played a huge role in shaping society as we know it today. The notion of acquired immunity was discovered in ancient China many centuries ago, but it wasn’t until the English Scientist, Edward Jenner, developed a vaccine for smallpox using cowpox particles in the 18th century that the modern concept of vaccination was born. Today the vaccine industry is a global enterprise worth over USD $50 billion.

How vaccines work

The concept behind vaccines is simple; a weakened pathogen used to mount an immune response needed to fight the same disease next time. Thanks to immunisation practices, infectious diseases like polio and smallpox that once obliterated communities have almost been eradicated. Many others like measles, mumps, and whooping cough, are also under control.

Development journey of a vaccine

vaccine preparation development

The journey of vaccine development begins with identifying the disease-causing agent that scientists can manipulate to develop Live Attenuated Vaccines or Inactivated Vaccines. Genetic engineering technologies can also be used to develop modified versions.

While the antigens in vaccine formulations evoke the immune response, without adjuvants, emulsifiers and stabilisers vaccines would not work.

Quality control and regulation

As a biological product, vaccines require special quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) mechanisms to ensure their safety. Global guidelines exist to ensure standards, while several in vitro and in vivo tests determine the quality and potency of finished products.

Every vaccine has to clear pre-clinical and clinical trials before it can be licensed for use and sale. However, manufacturers can carry out additional tests to continue monitoring safety, efficacy, and other potential uses for the product.
cold chain temperature monitoring

Storage and transport

Vaccines naturally biodegrade over time and can lose their effectiveness faster if they become too hot or cold. If stored or transported outside of cold chain temperatures, vaccines also lose their product license and can no longer be used. Today, with advanced instrumentation it is possible to better monitor and maintain temperature control – enhancing safety and traceability.


Immunisation is one of modern medicine’s greatest success stories; it not only prevents sickness and death but also holds up broader gains in education and economic development all over the world.

Read the complete article.

For any queries and product needs for vaccine development, please contact a Cole-Parmer representative in your region.

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