Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vaccinations: two great Aussie Heros bring hope.

Humans are odd creatures: here we a few years on from the so called GFC, and still there are concerns that the worst is yet to come as Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and now perhaps Italy and Spain head towards the "gurgler"! Then there's the Americans teetering on the edge of Default on their loans, which could potentially make the Euro crisis seem like a game of Monopoly!

The link to health is the sense of fear and uncertainty that this all creates: "What if it all goes wrong - what will happen to me"? Well, the simplistic answer is that you will still wake up in the morning, and you will still have your family and (most/some) friends left to talk to, and you will still worry about what you're going to have for tea! Meanwhile, out there in the real world, there are people who are genuinely trying to help make this world a better place - not by inoculating people with fear, but by leading by example, and by literally putting their money where their mouths are.

Prof Ian Frazer, he of the Cervical cancer vaccine, is working on another vaccine; this time for Herpes infections - one of the other pathogens linked to the cause of Cervical cancer. He's apparently been working on this for some years and even had to create his own company in order to bring it to a stage where "Big" backers have started to share in his vision: one of these being Andrew Forrest, who as well as exporting large chunks of the country to China, is also an amazingly philanthropic person. So if you want to divert your attention from gloom and doom to hope and help, then keep an eye out for Coridon - Ian's research company.

The other person who always sees the glass half full is Barry Marshall, the Nobel Laureate, who is also working in the field of vaccines. Barry is persuing the dream of creating a "no needle" vaccine based around his "pet" bacteria - Helicobacter. By fiddling with the genetic structure of the bacteria he hopes to be able to create a friendly bug, that will live in the stomach, and yet create an antibody response to the small parts of the disease-causing microbe which he will attach to it, and against which you want to vaccinate. And like Ian Frazer, he's created his own company to try and turn his ideas into a reality. So check out Barry's company too: it's called Ondek.
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