Articles on Immunity

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Parents are concerned combination vaccines, which protect against several diseases at once, can be too much for a young immune system to cope with. from www.shutterstock.com

No, combination vaccines don’t overwhelm kids’ immune systems

Vaccines against multiple diseases in one jab strengthen kids' immune systems, not weaken them. Here's why we shouldn't fear these combination vaccines.
It’s the ability of our immune system to remember past infections, and pass this memory on to our kids, that allows us to survive infectious diseases. from www.shutterstock.com

How we’ve evolved to fight the bugs that infect us

With so many microbes capable of hijacking and destroying us, how are we, as a species, still enduring?
What if it wasn’t back to the drawing board every year for a new flu shot? Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Influenza: The search for a universal vaccine

Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year's vaccine won't work on the next year's common strains. But a new way to create vaccines, called 'rational design,' might pave the way for more lasting solutions.
Revellers at a carnival in Sao Paulo wear mosquito masks in a reference to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can spread dengue and Zika on February 4, 2016. Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Dengue virus antibodies may worsen a Zika infection

Emerging research suggests that preexisting immunity to dengue virus, which is endemic in South America, could make a subsequent Zika infection worse.
South Africa’s planned withdrawal from the ICC is considered a detraction from Nelson Mandela’s “inspiring legacy”. Jim Bourg/Reuters

Why South Africa’s withdrawal is not a death-knell for the ICC

The ICC has made important advances by investigating cases outside Africa and completing ones that further define what is not allowed in war. South Africa’s withdrawal is concerning, but not fatal.
A vial of the Zika Virus Investigational DNA Vaccine from the NIH. NIH Image Gallery/Flickr

Why a Zika vaccine is a long way off

The long vaccine development process is focused on ensuring production of the safest and most effective vaccine for use.
Our modern crops need some help in the immunity department. Andy / Andrew Fogg

Can we ‘vaccinate’ plants to boost their immunity?

Modern agriculture is synonymous with monoculture. That lack of diversity is bad news for plants' natural immune defenses. Researchers are figuring out how to help plants fend off microbes – without pesticides.
The only thing standing between invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and our devastation is our immune system. kurtxio/Flickr

Explainer: how does the immune system learn?

The immune system does such a good job most of the time that we only really think about it when things go wrong. But to provide such excellent protection, it must constantly learn.
There are lessons to be learnt about the ICC from the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928. It failed to prevent the outbreak of war but brought war criminals to justice later. Reuters

ICC: sad lesson of lofty ideals trumped by reality repeats itself

The ICC has not lived up to its noble intentions of making the world more just. Its failure echoes that of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which set out to banish wars and to settle disputes peacefully.
Chronic fatigue is often misunderstood by the general public and medical professionals alike. Flickr / Arne Coormans

Explainer: what is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a highly debilitating, but often misunderstood, disorder. As its name suggests, the illness is characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint…
In a world first study, Victorian researchers showed that the number of girls presenting with abnormal pap smear results dropped after the introduction of a broad-based vaccination program. Flickr

Data suggest vaccinating girls against cervical cancer yields results

Australian researchers have shown for the first time that the number of girls presenting with pre-cancer cells on the cervix…

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