noun, plural: vaccines

A suspension containing live, attenuated, modified, or killed microorganisms (or their toxins), or tumor antigens, which when administered into the body stimulates the body's immune system to produce antigen-specific antibodies


Vaccines containing antigens are administered into the body to make the individual immune or protected against certain infectious diseases. Thus, future exposure to these antigens sets the immune system to readily destroy them. Some of the diseases that can be prevented through successful vaccination are measles, poliomyelitis, smallpox, hepatitis A and B, and certain cancers (e.g. cervical cancer).

Word origin: Latin vaccinus, from vacca (cow)

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