A June 5th Popular Science article discussed what could be the next big thing in immunization technology: spreadable vaccines. Vaccines protect millions of people each year from illnesses like diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and measles, but distribution and cost is a major hurdle in some parts of the world. Contagious vaccines offer a low-cost alternative capable of distributing themselves.
Transmissible vaccines will first be used in animals that carry diseases to which humans are susceptible, using a diluted version of the virus or attaching a part of the pathogen to a benign virus. Other versions target patients who are already infected and will attack the virus within their cells. The article goes on to describe three methods we can use to halt infections diseases by spreading vaccines.