The two main ingredients in H1N1 vaccine are the antigen and the adjuvant. The antigen is the attenuated virus that induces immune response, resulting in production of antibodies.
After the widespread breakout of H1N1 flu in 2009, quite a few pharmaceutical companies have come up with a preparation of H1N1 vaccine. One of the most important ingredients in this vaccine is the virus itself. However, the virus that is introduced into the body is either dead or extremely weak. So the virus administered is incapable of causing any infection. Upon injecting the virus, the immune system immediately generates antibodies that are specifically made to combat the virus.
Ingredients in H1N1 Vaccine
The vaccines that are being developed today are all egg-based. As eggs are utilized for the production of this vaccine, people allergic to eggs are advised to consult a doctor before getting vaccinated.
The two primary ingredients that are mixed together before administering the vaccine are the antigen and the adjuvant agent. The function and composition of these two important substances are given below:
An antigen, also referred to as an antibody generator, is a substance, exposure to which stimulates the immune system to manufacture antibodies. These antibodies produced, are considered as soldiers of our body and are effective in defending a specific type of infection. The antigen is made up of:
- Sodium chloride
- Potassium dihydrogen phosphate
- Disodium hydrogen phosphate
- Potassium chloride
- Sodium deoxycholate
Although, the vaccine does contain egg, the content of egg protein in antigen is found to be very less. Also, thimerosal in antigen acts as a great preservative and prevents the vaccine from microbial decay. Thimerosal is basically made up of mercury and other organic compounds, and is also found in other prescription drugs.
The adjuvant enhances the effect of antigen. It helps the antigen to perform its task more effectively. This is the reason why adjuvant is added to the antigen at the time of administration. One can say that it facilitates the action of antigen to make the vaccine formulation more destructive against the viruses. Following are the components of an adjuvant:
- Squalene (Shark liver oil)
- DL-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Polysorbate 80 (an emulsifier)
Though the vaccine greatly decreases the chances of contracting the deadly infection, it has to be taken in the right dosage. As ‘thimerosal-containing mercury’ is found in the H1N1 vaccine, overdose can expose the body to high levels of mercury, which can be life-threatening. So, to be on the safer side, consult a qualified doctor who has been licensed to carry out H1N1 vaccination.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.