On May 14, 1796, Edward Jenner performed the first successful vaccination against smallpox with virus obtained from a woman infected with cowpox. In the almost 200 years since that sentinel event, smallpox has been eradicated and polio has been eliminated from the Americas. Sophisticated biotechnology has brought us hepatitis B vaccine, the first licensed vaccine developed using recombinant DNA techniques. New technology has permitted linkage of Haemophilus influenzae type b capsular polysaccharide to protein carriers to improve the immune response of infants, and H influenzae type b invasive disease has been reduced by more than 95% in the 5 years since introduction of the first conjugate vaccines.1 As reported by Granoff et al2 in this issue of The JOURNAL, research continues into improving the already excellent immune response to these conjugate vaccines.
While much more remains to be done in developing new and improved vaccines, the system of
Orenstein WA, Bernier RH. Crossing the Divide From Vaccine Technology to Vaccine DeliveryThe Critical Role of Providers. JAMA. 1994;272(14):1138-1139. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520140068040