Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ad hoc vaccine

Work with what you've got.
  [vote for,

Consider a vaccine. The stuff must have a shelf life, must be mass produced and consistent lot to lot, no contaminants, and effective. All this is true also for food items like cereal and Spam.

But cooking at home, I can do as I like. My stuff can have no shelf life, be one of a kind and irreproducable, be contaminated with last nights meal and that stuff I thought was pepper, and if I don't like it, I will throw it out.

I propose that firebreak-type vaccines could be made according to the home cooking principle. Suppose there is a nasty cold going around. And here your wife brings it home. Probably unavoidable, for her and now for the rest of you. Need you meekly wait your turn?

The home vaccine constructer has the advantage of an excess of concentrated infectious material to work with, of the exact strain posing an immediate risk. Starting with this material (eg saliva or other secretions), treat with UV. This will crosslink DNA or RNA of the infectious agent so it cannot replicate. Proteins and so the antigenic structure of the agent remain intact - it still can infect, and maybe some can replicate a little. Given the immense starting amount it is oK to be sloppy.

Now use that homemade vaccine on all remaining healthy householders. Your immune systems will get a jump start with the UV attenuated stuff and when the real virus stumbles in it will be met by the pointy swords of the active immune system.

Down sides: home vaccine is ineffective and you catch the real thing. Home vaccine inadequately neutralized and you catch the real thing. You get to the project too late and are already infected as you make the vaccine. Teenager will not use grody homemade vaccine and catches the real thing. Homemade vaccine is mutant and much worse than original, or mutant and gives you supersoldier powers.

bungston, Jan 30 2011

Kids vs germs Kids_20vs_2e_20Germs
+ mud, + drool. [bungston, Jan 31 2011]


       I like the idea of hacking vaccines.   


       I would be very wary of shooting UV'd gloop into myself in this way. The gloop will contain a huge range of stuff, including many normal proteins unique to your spouse, and also many normal proteins which are identical to your own. By zapping them with UV and then presenting them in some unusual way to your immune system, you might initiate all kinds of unwanted immune responses. Worst case, you might trigger an autoimmune reaction.   

       I have no idea how likely this would be to happen, but I'd be worried.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 30 2011

       I'm with you, [MB]. I think nasties would ensue.
nineteenthly, Jan 30 2011

       I think the UV will not alter the gloop antigenically.
bungston, Jan 31 2011

       In a way, this is baked by those parents who still let their kids go out and play in the mud. Not effective in every case and sometimes there are unhealthy consequences, but the same general principal I feel.
DrBob, Jan 31 2011

       If you want home-baked disease control, look into bacteriophages. They can be selected for and bred up on a culture of the disease-causing bacteria, taken from the patient. The 'phages themselves can be found easily, for example in houseflies. The equipment and skills needed are not much more sophisticated than for a basic meth lab.   

       Of course, they are only useful against bacteria.
spidermother, Jan 31 2011

       /mud/ I think the contagious viruses which this idea targets would not last more than a few minutes with the stuff that lives in mud. That mud stuff (at least in these days of indoor plubming) in turn is not evolved to evade our immune systems.   

       Vernon had a vaccine idea to feed kids mud.
bungston, Jan 31 2011

       Ah, in that case shouldn't we just coat ourselves in mud at regular intervals, like what the hippopotami do?
DrBob, Feb 01 2011

hippo, Feb 01 2011


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