Sunday, June 14, 2009

It hasn't developed yet, so let's mess with it

From Science Daily comes this lovely piece of news about a group of scientists wanting to mess with the immune systems of newborns -
Newborn babies have immature immune systems, making them highly vulnerable to severe infections and unable to mount an effective immune response to most vaccines, thereby frustrating efforts to protect them. [...]
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston believe they have found a way to enhance the immune system at birth and boost newborns' vaccine responses, making infections like respiratory syncytial virus, pneumococcus and rotavirus much less of a threat.
Ofer Levy, MD, PhD and colleagues in Children's Division of Infectious Diseases have shown that the newborn immune system functions differently than that of adults, but that one portion of the immune response is fully functional and can be harnessed to boost innate immunity in these tiny infants.
I am sure that these scientists have good intentions but the road to a certain very hot place is paved with those. If a critical system in your body is still immature and developing why would you want to risk causing life long problems by messing with it?

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