Vaccines Of The Future

Scientists in previous years have developed ways to stop diseases like tetanus and measles. Now they are busy working quickly to develop new strategies against biological weapons such as anthrax and smallpox. But what about diseases that afflict millions today? Last year three million people worldwide died from AIDS. Another four million Americans are living with Alzheimer's Disease. But the vaccines for some of these diseases may be closer than you think. "I lost 65 friends in the course of one year," says Kenneth Jestings. Jestings is considered by researchers as high risk for AIDS. He and eight thousand others are in a study to test a vaccine that may one day save millions of lives. The goal of AIDS-vax is to prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells. Results won't be known for a few years, but researchers and volunteers are hopeful. Cristina Vera worries not about aids, but about Alzheimer's Disease. She says it has destroyed her mother. A vaccine under development may keep other families from suffering like Cristina's. Lab mice are being modified to develop Alzheimer's-causing plaque in their brains and are put through a maze to test their memories. With the vaccine, they show no signs of memory loss. Other vaccines under development are for diabetes and addictions. Early studies are also underway for hepatitis c and h-pylori, the bacteria thought to cause ulcers. Scientists have big hopes for nasal drops as a more effective way to fight some diseases. They figure the vaccines have a better chance entering the body the same way the virus they're fighting does. Other methods under development include edible vaccines and skin patches.