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Thermostable vaccine for childhood vaccination, United Kingdom, 2007

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In a joint venture, the British company Cambridge Biostability Ltd and Indian partners Panacea Biotech have developed a vaccine that can withstand extreme temperatures. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that half of vaccines produced become useless after being stored incorrectly. The new vaccine can withstand temperatures as high as 50ºC and as low as -50ºC. This removes the need for refrigeration, which saves money and means that the vaccines have an extended shelf life. The new, thermostable vaccine protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and HIB.

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    Glossary: vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

    Glossary: Hib

    No description.

    Glossary: tetanus

    An acute infectious disease, affecting the nervous system. Infection generally occurs through contamination of a wound. Symptoms include a locked jaw, arching of the back or neck and the inability to urinate.

    Glossary: whooping cough

    An acute highly infectious disease, primarily affecting infants. Whooping cough gets its name from the severe hacking cough followed by intake of breath that sounds like a ‘whoop’. A highly effective vaccine was introduced in the 1940s.

    Glossary: vaccine

    A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.

    Glossary: diphtheria

    An acute highly contagious infection, generally affecting the throat but occasionally other mucous membranes and the skin. Diphtheria has been largely eradicated due to world-wide vaccination efforts.

    Glossary: hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B is a virus spread through the contact of bodily fluids. It is one hundred times more infectious than HIV, and can lead to severe liver damage, but there is an effective vaccine available.