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The Controversial Quest to Make a ‘Contagious’ Vaccine

By Jess Craig | National Geographic | March 18, 2022

Imagine a cure that’s a contagious as a the disease it fights — a vaccine that could replicate in a host’s body and spread to others nearby, quickly and easily protecting a whole populations from microbial attacks. That’s the goal of several teams around the world who are reviving controversial research to develop self-spreading vaccines.

Their hope is to reduce infections disease transmission among wild animals, thereby lowering the risk that harmful viruses and bacteria can jump from wildlife to humans as many experts believe happened with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.