Vaccines – Do we need them now that infectious disease is under control?

Vaccines – Do we need them now that infectious disease is under control? Tuesday 1st July, 7:30 for 8:00 pm

with Professor Mark Fielder, Kingston University. This meeting is held jointly with the Society for Applied Microbiology.

These days we rarely see child and adult deaths from infectious diseases on a routine basis and, on the whole, we enjoy good health - in part because vaccination programmes are so effective. Mass vaccination programmes have rid the world of smallpox and virtually eradicated polio. They are a huge success story.
In recent years some parents had become fearful about having their children immunised, either because they did not trust the big drug companies or because they had been misled by headlines surrounding discredited research into measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Professor Fielder will explain why he thinks that vaccines are more important than ever as other treatments such as antibiotics begin to fail.
Professor Mark Fielder is in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Kingston.

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  • Gareth L.

    Yes, I wasn't really expecting a campaign for vaccination at Cafe Sci (laudable though the sentiment of that may be). I saw the Prof quoted in an article last month on a new way to attack bacteria that may become important in developing antibiotics - would've have been good to have heard about that. Cafe Sci is, to a large extent, a venue to hear about what's new in science. Thanks for organising the talk - it was an enjoyable evening.

    1 · July 2, 2014

    • robin c.

      I think by talking to a science interest group he was mostly preaching to the converted. It would have been more interesting to go into greater depth on the subject (well for me anyway).

      July 3, 2014

  • Dave S.

    Yes, it would have been good to get further into antibiotic resistance and the work being done to overcome this problem. We will look out for a speaker on this theme for early next year.
    There is some interesting work on antibiotics and leaf-cutter ants on show at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition this week (until Sunday). They produce antibiotics to protect their 'compost heaps' and have been doing so for millions of years without resistance developing (ditto bees, which make antibiotics to keep their honey free from microbes).
    http://sse.royalsociety.org/2014/ants-and-antibiotics/

    1 · July 3, 2014

    • Paul J.

      There was something on the BBC about alligator blood having amazing antibodies too. The last meeting has started a good conversation.

      1 · July 3, 2014

    • robin c.

      I have a partially remembered conversation with an retired beechams employee, a post doc researcher, and from that I gathered that most anti-biotics are chemical tinkerings with penicillin. The penicillin was grown in large vats, and then chemically processed to create different variants of anti-biotic. If this is true then it would seem that we have run out of variations on original penicillin that actually do something useful.

      July 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great to see some discussion is ongoing following Tuesday's event. I'll pass comments on to Prof Fielder so he can consider making some adjustments to the talk, if he delivers something similar in the future.

    Glad Dave has highlighted the leaf cutter ants exhibit at the Royal Society - that research was actually presented at last year's Society for Applied Microbiology conference! It's fascinating!

    July 3, 2014

  • robin c.

    I think he shopuld have presented the basic science of how vaccines work, with a few slide. First how infections spread in the body, and how the body generates anti-bodies to attack the infection. Then how vaccines are essentially dead pathogen, which stimulate the body to produce anti-bodies creating the immunity. This would have been about 3 or 4 slides, but would have set the context. I would like to hear more about anti-biotics too, and with a large factory and research lab dedicated to this being in Worthing, it should be relatively easy to find a speaker.

    July 2, 2014

  • Paul J.

    It was more polemical than scientific I suppose. The presenter I thought very likeable, but I was hungry for more facts and scientific detail. I assumed the Applied Microbiologists knew this, but I wanted a more explanation of all the scientific details. Guess I should have said this in the meeting.

    Second half more on the barriers to social acceptance of vaccines, and maybe 'non-rational' views of people who don't get their children vaccinated, or religious extremists who actively oppose vaccination. More explanation needed for the general public? Does the 'vaccine' of science inoculating people against 'non-rational' thought?

    Antibiotic resistance was hardly covered, but is the most pressing issue too. A bit disappointing as a meeting in some ways, but I was stimulated to think and discuss with my friends. It was good to meet with another group, and the variation on venue was interesting. Thanks for organising it.

    July 2, 2014

  • robin c.

    I thought he put the main point over, that the diseases that we are no longer afflicted with are thousands of times worse than the some of the side effects of vaccination. I would like to point out that for childrens vaccinations , in the USA and EU, mercury preservatives are no longer used. I would have liked to have asked publicly about this, but spoke to the proffessor at the end. Although not his specific field, an industrial pharmacist could have answered better he said, he stated that part of the reason was that the vaccines for children are more tolerant of heat treatment, but I did wonder what reasons the FDA and EU had given for banning mercury based preservatives for childrens vaccines.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F00002018-200528020-00001

    July 2, 2014

  • Stolathetoga

    Rather disappointing and poorly delivered (I left at the interval)! Considering this is such a current topic he said very little that was new or challenging. What strategies (political and scientific) are there to tackle the problem of anti-biotic resistance? What's happening at the leading-edge of medical research? Sadly nothing forthcoming from this talk.

    July 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    We are looking forward very much to meeting the Brighton Cafe Scientifique regulars at our Microbiology special, next week. Thanks for having us! Nancy, and all at the Society for Applied Microbiology

    June 25, 2014

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