A medical preparation that contains attenuated (killed/inactive) infectious agents (e.g. bacteria, virus) that are unable to replicate, but they induce a response in the body’s immune system that protects against getting that particular live virus. A vaccine is administered to either prevent infectious disease by developing protected immunity, or to treat infectious diseases by stimulating antibody production (the body’s own defence against a disease). Respectively, these are called preventive vaccines or therapeutic vaccines. Flu Vaccines are an example of the former. HIV vaccine research is intensely focussed upon 3 areas of vaccine development:
- preventative vaccines (to stop HIV acquisition);
- therapeutic vaccines (to inactivate an existing HIV infection);
- curative vaccines (to permanently eradicate – cure – an existing infection).