Genetics Will Change Vaccination and Other Drug Administration

This article will be of interest to people who are interested in healthcare, genetic research effects, and in vaccination.

The National Post carried an article on Friday the 9th of May headlined Vaccinomics.  It deals with the observations and consequences of research by Dr. Gregory Poland and his research group at the Mayo Clinic.  They are developing a new paradigm for vaccination based on genomic research, thus vaccinomics.

Their view is that vaccination will be vastly different in the future.  Essentially each person will get a vaccination that suits their genetic potential rather than the one dose suits all model currently in use.  As the cost to sequence a person’s DNA is falling fast and expected to reach $100 in the near future, this is not a dream.

Babies who are sensitive to the measles vaccine may be identifiable beforehand.

Did you know that women are more sensitive to vaccines than men?  That is why they get more side effects.  The current dose uses a one size fits all platform when it is obvious that the assumption may not b reasonable.

There is resistance to the program.  I think it is reasonable to believe that the resistance will grow rather than shrink and it will eventually spread to all drugs.  After all, the dosage is determined by experiment.  How much can we give you before we get side effects?

If it becomes clear that propensity to side effects is genetically determined, then dosage will be tailor made to the person.  Given that we know that more of a drug provides greater effect, genetics will obsolete the idea of a guideline dose that results in acceptable levels of side effects will be obsolete.  If I am susceptible to side effects, I will none, you on the other hand may get two or three times the current dosage.  You heal quickly and I get some other drug.

That seems a more efficient way to use medication of any kind.  The dosage will be specific to the the substance and to the person using it.  Like a tailor-made suit.

I don’t see Big Pharma buying in to this very readily, but the generic drug makers might.

As it becomes cheaper to assess genetic factors there will be some advantages, like medication, like avoidance of certain products like tobacco or alcohol, like a bespoke annual testing process and more.  Costs should fall as side effect issues dissipate and effectiveness should improve.

On the other side, genetic testing may open unpleasant difficulties for some in the areas of life, health and other health, and potential health, related insurance plans.

The next decade will be interesting.  Try not to miss it.


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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:

2 Comments on “Genetics Will Change Vaccination and Other Drug Administration

  1. Pingback: Personalised medicine to be the wave of the near future? | The IDEA Bucket

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