The possibility of vaccines that prevent type 2 diabetes is still in development and has yet to be available in the market. It is important to know what the root cause of diabetes in order to better find out how to control and prevent it. The short answer is yes, there are medicines available to help control diabetes, but unfortunately a vaccine for diabetes is still not available for humans. A vaccine for mice with diabetes is already available though.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease which causes the body’s T cells to kill beta cells which produce insulin in the pancreas. What a vaccine would try to do is stop T cells from destroying the beta cells. It is possible to treat mice with diabetes with a vaccine but not yet for humans. However, there have been several attempts to develop a vaccine useable for humans.
Research on Diabetes Vaccine
Diamyd Medical is a Swedish company that is testing a diabetic vaccine on humans. They are trying to see whether or not that they can stop or slow down diabetes from development in the human body. Unfortunately, the vaccine was in phase 3 and was unable to stop the t cells from killing the beta cells. Now the Swedish company is trying to continue with research and deciding whether or not they will still try to develop the treatment.
The nanoparticle vaccine
The University of Calgary successfully developed a vaccine that has worked in mice. The vaccine uses nanoparticles with antigens to stimulate the body’s T cells. This prevents the T cells from killing the beta cells. This breakthrough came out in April 2010 and was exciting news in the development of vaccines for diabetes.
This was a collaboration between two colleges: King’s College London and Bristol University. They were awarded a €10-million grant in early 2010. The grant was awarded for research for a vaccine against the anti-immune effects of diabetes. These two colleges have been working together for years, and both are trying to find a solution to the problem.
Possibility and myths
Most people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This is because of lack or exercise and bad eating choices. It is often believed that obesity is the direct reason on why diabetes happens. Now there is new research that suggests the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) might also be the cause. It is a bacteria living on the surface of the skin. Of course the cause of diabetes is still unknown, but some believe that this bacteria is a likely cause. There is still a lot of lab work to be done, but, as the progress moves on, hopefully there will be a vaccine some day.
Complications of diabetes
Even though a diabetes patient takes all recommended precautions, it still becomes difficult for the immune system to maintain resistance against infections. Thus such patients are at risk for more severe future complications caused by this illness compared to those without diabetes. These complications include:
- During influenza, the levels of blood glucose rise to extremely high levels which may prove dangerous for the victim.
- The maximum cases of Hepatitis B are observed in people with diabetes, affecting their blood glucose monitoring procedures.
- Individuals who suffer from diabetes are at greater risk of death from meningitis (inflammation of the protective lining in the brain and the spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), and bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the bloodstream).
- Immunization is considered the best protective measure against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Importance of Vaccines
Vaccines are one of the safest options to fight against the infection and these best protect the health and well-being of an individual, even if a person is on a regular doze prescribed medications. They don’t hold any severe side-effects, and if accompanied by mild ones, these usually don’t last for a longer duration and go away after a short period of time.
Always have regular immunizations:
All adults need immunizations to help protect them against infections and other serious diseases. It is therefore recommended to all diabetes patients to take the following vaccinations:
- All adults should get vaccinated with influenza or seasonal flu vaccine every year. It is especially important and recommended to people with poor health, pregnant women, and the elderly.
- Every individual should get the Tdap vaccine in adulthood, in case they didn’t receive it during their adolescence period. This vaccine provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (or whooping cough).
- Td is a booster shot vaccine, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria, and given after a period of 10 years.
- Pregnant women should be vaccinated with the Tdap vaccine. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all expecting mothers should be given a vaccine for the whooping cough, preferably between 27 to 36 weeks of their pregnancy.
Other vaccines for adults (between the age of 19 to 26 years)
HPV vaccine provides immunity against the human papillomavirus which is the major cause of genital warts, cervical cancers, and other possible cancers. It should be administered to:
- Women up to the age 26 years of age
- Men up to 21 years of age.
Vaccines for 60 years and above
- Pneumococcal Vaccine: It protects against the pneumococcal disease, thereby preventing infection to spread to the lungs and the bloodstream. Medical practitioners consider it beneficial for adults above 65 years of age, or those who are below 65 years and suffer from certain chronic health conditions.
- Zoster Vaccine: This vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles or herpes zoster. It is recommended for adults at or above 60 years of age.
The Bottom Line
The vaccine for diabetes is still in progress. There's still much research being done and eventually, someday, there will be a vaccine. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Of course, the best way to prevent diabetes is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is important to eat healthy and to exercise regularly. At the very least, taking better care of your health is more than manageable and still within your control.