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Vaccine Industry Glossary [Pro-Vaccine]
This list is presented for your research convenience and we make no endorsement of accuracy.
This list has been compiled from multiple sources.
Many of the following terms are met with in studying the Vaccine Paradigm.
Pro-Vaccine definations often contain serious errors in our humble, but informed, opinion.

The pro-vax Glossary entries have a source indicator footnote, like this: [1] , [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], or [7]

Only those terms which are most frequently encountered or have some interesting feature are included.

Standard Glossary
Of The Most Common Terms
See References for links to full Glossaries
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K L  M  N O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W X  Y  Z 


Acellular vaccine--
A vaccine containing partial cellular material as opposed to complete cells. [7]

Active Immunity
The formation of an antibody that can be stimulated by infection or vaccination. [4]

Active immunity--
The production of antibodies against a specific disease by the immune system. Active immunity can be acquired in two ways, either by contracting the disease or through vaccination. Active immunity is usually permanent, meaning an individual is protected from the disease for the duration of their lives. [7]

A short-term, intense health effect. [7]

adjuvant: A substance that is used in a vaccine to improve the immune response so that less vaccine is needed to produce a non-specific stimulator of the immune response.[2]

A substance (e.g. aluminum salt) that is added during production to increase the body's immune response to a vaccine. [7]

adult immunizations: Vaccinations that are given to people over 18 years of age (i.e. booster tetanus shots, annual influenza shots, and pneumococcal or pneumonia vaccine).[2]

adverse event: in a clinical trial, an unwanted effect detected in participants. The term is used whether or not the effect can be attributed to the vaccine under study.[1]

Adverse events--
Undesirable experiences occurring after immunization that may or may not be related to the vaccine. [7]

adverse reaction (side effect): in a clinical trial, an unwanted effect detected in participants and attributed to the study vaccine.[1]

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)--
A panel of 10 experts who make recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. The panel is advised on current issues by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association and others. The recommendations of the ACIP guide immunization practice at the federal, state and local level. [7]

Organizations and groups that actively support participants and their families with valuable resources, including self-empowerment and survival tools. [5]

An organism that can live and grow only in the presence of oxygen.

1. Facultative aerobe: one which normally thrives in the absence of oxygen, but which may acquire the faculty of living in the presence of oxygen. 2. Obligate aerobe: one that cannot live without air.

The plural of aerobe. [4]

Living in air. [4]

Aerobic Bacteria
Bacteria capable of growing in the presence of Oxygen. [4]

A complex mixture of polysaccharides obtained from marine red algae, used as an emulsion stabilizer in foods, as a sizing in fabrics, as a gelling agent and as a solid substrate or media for the laboratory culture of microorganisms. Agar melts at 100ºC and when cooled below 44ºC forms a stiff and transparent gel. Microorganisms are seeded and grown on the surface of the gel.[4]

The sticking together of insoluble antigens such as bacteria, viruses or erythrocytes by a particular antibody. Agglutination assays are used to type human blood before a transfusion.[4]

Allantoic Fluid
The clear white portion of an egg. In influenza vaccine manufacturing, the virus is propagated in the embryonic chick and sloughed into the allantoic fluid that is harvested to produce the vaccine. [4]

Aluminum sulfate, commonly added during municipal water treatment to cause insoluble colloids to coalesce into larger particles that can be removed by settling. [4]

Ames Test
A simple bacterial test for carcinogens. [4]

An antibiotic widely used in clinical treatment and rDNA research. It is a derivative of penicillin, which kills bacteria by interfering with the synthesis of the cell wall. [4]

anamnestic response:: the heightened immunologic reaction elicited by a second or subsequent exposure to a particular pathogenic microorganism (e.g., bacterium, fungus, virus), toxin, or antigen. (See also memory cells.) [1]

anaphylaxis: An immediate and severe allergic response; a shock reaction to a substance. This can result in sudden severe breathing difficulty, severe drop in blood pressure, and/or loss of consciousness. Anaphylactic shock can kill if not treated promptly. Common causes of anaphylaxis include: bee stings in people that are allergic to bees, ingestion of certain foods by people that are allergic to those foods, and drug reactions.[2]

Relating to an anaerobe. [4]

Anaerobic Bacteria
Bacteria capable of growing in the absence of Oxygen. [4]

An acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in hoofed mammals and can also infect humans. [7]

An organic substance of microbial origin (usually mold or actinomycete bacteria) that is either toxic or growth inhibiting for other organisms. Also with the advent of synthetic methods of production, a substance produced by a microorganism or a similar substance (produced wholly or partly by chemical synthesis) which, in low concentrations, inhibits the growth of other microorganisms. Penicillin, tetracycline, and erythromycin are examples of antibiotics.[4]

A substance produced by bacteria or fungi that destroys or prevents the growth of other bacteria and fungi. [6]

A modified protein molecule present in the blood serum or plasma (and other body fluids), whose activity is associated chiefly with gamma globulin. Produced by the immune system in response to exposure to a foreign substance, it is the body's protective mechanism against infection and disease. An antibody is characterized by a structure complementary to the foreign substance, the antigen that provokes its formation, and is thus capable of binding specifically to the foreign substance to neutralize it. [4]

antibody: an infection-fighting protein molecule in blood or secretory fluids that tags, neutralizes, and helps destroy pathogenic microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses) or toxins. Antibodies, known generally as immunoglobulins, are made and secreted by B lymphocytes in response to stimulation by antigens. Each specific antibody binds only to the specific antigen that stimulated its production. (See also immunoglobulin; binding antibody; enhancing antibody; functional antibody; neutralizing antibody.)[1]

antibody-mediated immunity: also called humoral immunity. Immunity that results from the activity of antibodies in blood and lymphoid tissue.[1]

A protein produced by the body's immune system in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Our bodies fight off an infection by producing antibodies. An antibody reacts specifically with the antigen that triggered its formation and its function is to inactivate the antigen. [6]

A protein found in the blood that is produced in response to foreign substances (e.g. bacteria or viruses) invading the body. Antibodies protect the body from disease by binding to these organisms and destroying them. [7]

Any of various foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, endotoxins, exotoxins, foreign proteins, pollen, and vaccines, whose entry into an organism induces an immune response (antibody production, lymphokine production, or both) directed specifically against that molecule. Response may be demonstrated as an increased reaction, such as hypersensitivity (usually protein or a complex of protein and polysaccharide, or occasionally a polysaccharide of high molecular weight), a circulating antibody that reacts with the antigen, or some degree of immunity to infectious disease if the antigen was a microorganism or its products. [4]

antigen: any substance that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies. Antigens are often foreign substances such as invading bacteria or viruses. (See also immunogen.)[1]

Foreign substances (e.g. bacteria or viruses) in the body that are capable of causing disease. The presence of antigens in the body triggers an immune response, usually the production of antibodies. [7]

antimicrobial agents: A general term for the drugs, chemicals, or other substances that kill microbes (tiny organisms that cause disease). Among the antimicrobial agents in use today are: antibacterial drugs (kill bacteria); antiviral agents (kill viruses); antifungal agents (kill fungi); and antiparisitic drugs (kill parasites).[2]

Acting against sepsis. An antiseptic agent is one that has been formulated for use on living tissue such as mucous membranes or skin to prevent or inhibit growth or action of organisms. Antiseptics should not be used to decontaminate inanimate objects. [4]

The blood serum obtained from an animal after has been immunized with a particular antigen. It contains antibodies specific for that antigen as well as antibodies specific for any other antigens with which the animal has previously been immunized. [4]

Antibodies capable of destroying microorganisms including viruses and bacteria. [7]

An antibody that is capable of neutralizing the specific toxin that stimulated its production in the body. Antitoxins are produced in animals for medical purposes by injection of a toxin or toxoid, with the resulting serum being used to counteract the toxin in other individuals. [4]

Drug that is used to prevent or cure a disease caused by a virus, by interfering with the ability of the virus to multiply in number or spread from cell to cell. [6]

arm: a group of participants in a clinical trial, all of whom receive the same treatment, intervention or placebo. The other arm(s) receive(s) a different treatment.[1]

Any of the treatment groups in a randomized trial. Most randomized trials have two "arms," but some have three "arms," or even more (See Randomized Trial). [5]

A condition in which living pathogenic (causing or capable of causing disease) organisms are absent. [4]

Marked by or relating to asepsis.[4]

The degree to which the occurrence of two variables or events is linked. Association describes a situation where the likelihood of one event occurring depends on the presence of another event or variable. However, an association between two variables does not necessarily imply a cause and effect relationship. The term association and relationship are often used interchangeably. See causal and temporal association. [7]

Presenting no symptoms of disease. [6]

Asymptomatic infection--
The presence of an infection without symptoms. Also known as inapparent or subclinical infection. [7]

attenuated: To be weakened. An attenuated vaccine is one that has been weakened by chemicals, or other processes so that it will produce an adequate immune response without causing the serious effects of an infection.[2]

Attenuated vaccine--
A vaccine in which live virus is weakened through chemical or physical processes in order to produce an immune response without causing the severe effects of the disease. Attenuated vaccines currently licensed in the United States include measles, mumps, rubella, polio, yellow fever and varicella. Also known as a live vaccine. [7]

The process of changing a virus or bacteria to reduce its disease-causing ability while retaining its ability to bring about a strong immune response in a person’s body. [3]

A chronic developmental disorder usually diagnosed between 18 and 30 months of age. Symptoms include problems with social interaction and communication as well as repetitive interests and activities. At this time, the cause of autism is not known although many experts believe it to be a genetically based disorder that occurs before birth. [7]

Auto Immune Disease
A disease in which the body produces an immunogenic response against self-antigens. In some cases, predominantly one organ is affected (e.g. hemolytic anemia and chronic thyroiditis); in others, the disease process is diffused through many tissues (e.g. SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosis)). [4]

avian flu:
A highly contagious viral disease with up to 100% mortality in domestic fowl caused by influenza A virus subtypes H5 and H7. All types of birds are susceptible to the virus but outbreaks occur most often in chickens and turkeys. The infection may be carried by migratory wild birds, which can carry the virus but show no signs of disease. Humans are only rarely affected. [6]


B cells--
Small white blood cells that help the body defend itself against infection. These cells are produced in bone marrow and develop into plasma cells which produce antibodies. Also known as B lymphocytes. [7]

bacteria: (Plural for bacterium). Tiny microorganisms that reproduce by cell division and usually have a cell wall. Bacteria can be shaped like a sphere, rod, or spiral and can be found in virtually any environment.[2]

Tiny one-celled organisms present throughout the environment that require a microscope to be seen. While not all bacteria are harmful, some cause disease. Examples of bacterial disease include diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza and pneumococcus (pneumonia). [7]

An agent that kills vegetative bacteria but not mycobacteria or spores. [4]

Any of a large group of microscopic organisms having round, rod-shaped, spiral, or filamentous unicellular or noncellular bodies that are often aggregated into colonies, are enclosed by a cell wall or membrane (prokaryotes), and lack fully differentiated nuclei. Bacteria range in size from 0.4µm to 2.0µm and may exist as free-living organisms in soil, water, organic matter, or as parasites in the live bodies of plants. Some are disease producing, but most perform necessary functions such as digestion, fermentation, and nitrification. Most of the forms are variously grouped under generic names such as: Alcaligenes, Dialister, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Kurthia, Pasteurella, Salmonella, and Shigella. [4]

Bacillus of Calmette Guérin, a vaccine that protects against tuberculosis. [3]

Biological plausibility--
A causal association (or relationship between two factors) is consistent with existing medical knowledge. [7]

A randomized trial is "Blind" if the participant is not told which arm of the trial he is on. A clinical trial is "Blind" if participants are unaware on whether they are in the experimental or control arm of the study; also called masked. (See Single Blind Study and Double Blind Study). [5]

blinded study: a clinical trial in which participants are unaware as to whether or not they are in the experimental or control arm of the study. (See also double-blind study.) [1]

Blood-Borne Pathogens
Infectious microorganisms that are carried in the blood of infected humans or animals and that can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, body fluids, tissues, or organs. Blood-borne pathogens are implicated in diseases such as malaria, syphilis, brucellosis, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Workplace transmission of a blood-borne pathogen can occur via accidental inoculation with a contaminated "sharp" exposure through open cuts, skin abrasions, and mucous membranes of eyes and mouth indirect transmission (e.g., touching mouth, eyes, nose or open cuts with contaminated hands). [4]

Bone marrow--
Soft tissue located within bones that produce all blood cells, including the ones that fight infection. [7]

booster: a second or later vaccine dose given after the primary dose(s) to increase the immune response to the original vaccine antigen(s). The vaccine given as the booster dose may or may not be the same as the primary vaccine. (See also prime-boost.) [1]

booster: Administration of an additional vaccination to help increase or speed the immune response to a previous vaccination.[2]

Booster shots--
Additional doses of a vaccine needed periodically to "boost" the immune system. For example, the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine which is recommended for adults every ten years. [7]

Breakthrough infection--
Development of a disease despite a person's having responded to a vaccine. [7]

BSE (Bovine Serum Albumin)
A blood protein that makes up approximately 55-65% of the proteins in the bovine serum. Used as a size marker on gels and as carrier protein. [4]

BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)
Sometimes called "Mad Cow Disease". A disease of cattle presumably caused by a virus or other unidentified entity that affects the brain and causes the cow to behave erratically. Prevalent in parts of Europe but not in the United States. BSE is a contaminant that is undesirable in bovine sera. It is not known whether the causative agent can be filtered out since the causative agent itself is not known. In humans, it is believed to cause Creutzfeld-Jacob, a disease affecting the nervous system. [4]

breakthrough infection: an infection, which the vaccine is intended to prevent, that occurs in a volunteer during the course of a vaccine trial. Such an infection is caused by exposure to the infectious agent and may occur before or after the vaccine has taken effect or all doses have been given. [1]

The liquid culture medium in which fermentation or cell culture takes place. [4]


The name given to a group of diseases that are characterized by uncontrolled cellular growth. [4]

A substance that causes the development of cancerous growths in living tissue. A chemical is considered to be a carcinogen if it has been evaluated by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) and found to be a carcinogen or potential carcinogen, or if it is listed in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program, or if it is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen. [4]

Cancer-causing. Many agents that are carcinogenic are mutagens. [4]

A person who has an active infection which may spread to other people. Being the carrier of an active infection may last for years and examples include hepatitis B and typhoid.

A bearer and transmitter of an agent capable of causing infectious disease. An asympotomatic carrier shows no symptoms of carrying an infectious agent. [6]

Causal association--
The presence or absence of a variable (e.g. smoking) is responsible for an increase or decrease in another variable (e.g. cancer). A change in exposure leads to a change in the outcome of interest. [7]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. government agency at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. CDC is one of 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. [6]

challenge: in vaccine experiments, the deliberate exposure of an immunized animal to the infectious agent. Challenge experiments are never done in human HIV vaccine research. [1]

Chickenpox (varicella) is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which belongs to the herpes group of viruses. [3]

childhood immunizations: A series of immunizations that are given to prevent diseases that pose a threat to children. The immunizations in the United States currently include: Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenzae type b, Inactivated Polio, Pneumococcal Conjugate, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Hepatitis A.[2]

Chronic health condition--
A health related state that lasts for a long period of time (e.g. cancer, asthma). [7]

Pertaining to or founded on observation and treatment of participants, as distinguished from theoretical or basic science. [5]

A clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. Trials are in four phases: Phase I tests a new drug or treatment in a small group; Phase II expands the study to a larger group of people; Phase III expands the study to an even larger group of people; and Phase IV takes place after the drug or treatment has been licensed and marketed. (See Phase I, II, III, and IV Trials) [5]

cohort: groups of individuals who share one or more characteristics in a research study and who are followed over time. For example, a vaccine trial might include two cohorts, a group at low risk for HIV and a group at higher risk for HIV. [1]

A clinical trial conducted primarily through primary-care physicians rather than academic research facilities. [5]

control: in vaccine clinical trials, the control group is given either the standard treatment for the disease or an inactive substance called a placebo. The control group is compared with one or more groups of volunteers given experimental vaccines to detect any effects of the vaccines. [1]

p>combination vaccine: A combination of two or more vaccines (i.e. the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine). Like the individual vaccines, combination vaccines are developed through scientific research. They are also tested through clinical trials for appropriateness, safety, and effectiveness before they are licensed and released for use by the public.[2]

That which can be transmitted from one person or animal to another. [7]

community immunity: A concept of protecting a community against certain diseases by having a high percentage of the community’s population immunized. (Sometimes referred to as "herd" immunity). Even if a few members of the community are unable to be immunized, the entire community will be indirectly protected because the disease has little opportunity for an outbreak. However, with a low percentage of population immunity, the disease would have great opportunity for an outbreak.

Examples of the key role of community immunity include being vaccinated with Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenzae type b, Inactivated Polio, Pneumococcal Conjugate, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Hepatitis A because these are diseases that can spread through person-to-person transmission. Tetanus, on the other hand, cannot be spread through person-to-person transmission. It is transmitted through skin wounds. For example, if a person steps on a nail or sustains some kind of penetrating injury from something that has been contaminated with Tetanus spores, there is significant risk for a life-threatening Tetanus infection. The level of community immunity would have no impact on this risk.[2]

conjugate vaccines: A vaccine in which a polysaccharide antigen is chemically joined with a protein molecule to improve the immunogenicity of the polysaccharide.[2]

Conjugate vaccine--
The joining together of two compounds (usually a protein and polysaccharide) to increase a vaccine's effectiveness. [7]

conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the eyelid. Sometimes this condition occurs independently, but it can also occur with other illnesses (i.e. measles).[2]

Inflammation of the mucous membranes surrounding the eye causing the area to become red and irritated. The membranes may be irritated because of exposure to heat, cold or chemicals. This condition is also caused by viruses, bacteria or allergies. [7]

A contagious disease is easily spread from one person to another by contact with the infectious agent that causes the disease. The agent may be in droplets of liquid particles made by coughing or sneezing, contaminated food utensils, water or food. [6]

contraindication: Any condition (especially of disease), which renders some particular line of treatment improper or undesirable.[2]

A reason why a vaccine or drug should not be given. [3]

A condition in a recipient which is likely to result in a life-threatening problem if a vaccine were given. [7]

The standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo (See Placebo and Standard Treatment). [5]

Control is a standard against which experimental observations may be evaluated. In clinical trials, one group of participants is given an experimental drug, while another group (i.e., the control group) is given either a standard treatment for the disease or a placebo. [5]

Crohn's disease--
A chronic medical condition characterized by inflammation of the bowel. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss. The cause of Chron's disease is not yet known, but genetic, dietary and infectious factors may play a part. [7]

See Seizure [7]

Crib or Cot Death--
See Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) [7]


A muscle in the upper arm where shots are usually given. [7]

Demyelinating disorders--
A medical condition where the myelin sheath is damaged. The myelin sheath surrounds nerves and is responsible for the transmission of impulses to the brain. Damage to the myelin sheath results in muscle weakness, poor coordination and possible paralysis. Examples of demyelinating disorders include Multiple Sclerosis (MS), optic neuritis, transverse neuritis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). [7]

A chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce insulin and properly breakdown sugar (glucose) in the blood. Symptoms include hunger, thirst, excessive urination, dehydration and weight loss. The treatment of diabetes requires daily insulin injections, proper nutrition and regular exercise. Complications can include heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, poor circulation leading to loss of limbs, hearing impairment, vision problems and death. [7]

DHL Vaccine
A tri-valent vaccine. Also, the most common veterinary vaccine that has a combination of viral and bacterial vaccines. Used for distemper, hepatitis (canine), and leptospira. [4]

A bacterial disease marked by the formation of a false membrane, especially in the throat, which can cause death. [7]

disease: Sickness; illness; an interruption, or disturbance of the bodily functions or organs, which causes or threatens pain and weakness.[2]

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the double-stranded, helical molecular chain found within the nucleus of each cell. DNA carries the genetic information that encodes proteins and enables cells to reproduce and perform their functions. [1]

DNA vaccine (nucleic acid vaccine): direct injection of a gene(s) coding for a specific antigenic protein(s), resulting in direct production of such antigen(s) within the vaccine recipient in order to trigger an appropriate immune response. [1]

One process in which influenza virus undergoes mutation. The amount of change can be subtle or dramatic, but eventually as drift occurs, a new variant strain will become dominant. This process allows influenza viruses to change and re-infect people repeatedly through their lifetime and is the reason influenza virus strains in vaccine must be updated each year. See shift. [6]

double-blind study: a clinical trial in which neither the study staff nor the participants know which participants are receiving the experimental vaccine and which are receiving a placebo or another therapy. Double-blind trials are thought to produce objective results, since the researcher’s and volunteer’s expectations about the experimental vaccine do not affect the outcome. [1]

Double Blind Test
Used in Clinical Trials, this is a method to ensure that any one party cannot improperly influence the test. The product (either in a single strength dosage or in multiple dosages) and the placebo are packaged and given a code name known to only the initiating party. These are then sent to another party who gives the coded packages yet another code name or number, and makes a matrix of the previous name/number to the new name/number. This is then sent to the physician who administers these to the patient. At the end of the test, the physician provides records of which patient received which code name/number product. This is then cross-referenced to the intermediate matrix to determine the original code name/number. The results of the treatment are then correlated to determine the efficacy of the drug. [4]

The diphtheria-tetanus vaccine for use in adults. Also known as ADT.[3]

The diphtheria-tetanus vaccine for use in children. Also known as CDT. [3]

A modification of the effect of a drug when administered with another drug. The effect may be an increase or a decrease in the action of either substance, or it may be an adverse effect that is not normally associated with either drug. [5]

A childhood vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). The newer acellular vaccine, DTPa, which is made from parts of the whooping cough bacteria instead of whole bacteria, causes fewer reactions, such as fever, pain and swelling, at the injection site than the older whole-cell vaccine, DTPw.[3]

The diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine for use in adults and adolescents.[3]


efficacy: in vaccine research, the ability of a vaccine to produce a desired clinical effect, such as protection against a specific infection, at the optimal dosage and schedule in a given population. A vaccine may be tested for efficacy in Phase 3 trials if it appears to be safe and shows some promise in smaller Phase 1 and 2 trials.[1]

(Of a drug or treatment). The maximum ability of a drug or treatment to produce a result regardless of dosage. A drug passes efficacy trials if it is effective at the dose tested and against the illness for which it is prescribed. In the procedure mandated by the FDA, Phase II clinical trials gauge efficacy, and Phase III trials confirm it (See Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Phase II and III Trials)

Efficacy rate--
A measure used to describe how good a vaccine is at preventing disease. [7]

ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay): a blood test that detects antibodies based on a reaction that leads to a detectable color change in the test tube. The HIV ELISA is commonly used as the initial screening test because it is relatively easy and inexpensive to perform. Because the HIV ELISA is designed for optimal sensitivity – that is, it detects all persons with HIV antibodies as well as some who don’t have them (false positives) – a positive HIV ELISA test must be confirmed by a second, more specific test such as an HIV Western Blot. [1]

Based on experimental data, not on a theory. [5]

empirical: based on experience or observational information and not necessarily on proven scientific data. In the past, vaccine trials have been performed based exclusively on empirical data and without a full understanding of the disease processes or correlates of immunity. [1]

encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain and central nervous system.[2]

Inflammation of the brain caused by a virus. Encephalitis can result in permanent brain damage or death. [7]

A general term to describe a variety of illnesses that affect the brain, including encephalitis. [3]

A general term describing brain dysfunction. Examples include encephalitis, meningitis, seizures and head trauma. [7]

Endemic infections are present all the time in a community. [3]

The continual, low-level presence of disease in a community. [7]

endpoint: the results of an intervention such as vaccination compared among different study groups in a clinical trial. In early vaccine trials, common endpoints are safety and specific types and intensities of immune responses (neutralizing antibodies, CTL responses). [1]

envelope: outer surface of a virus, also called the coat. Not all viruses have an envelope. (See also virus; env.)[1]

A substance that speeds up chemical reaction. Every chemical reaction in living organisms is facilitated by an enzyme. [6]

Epidemic infections appear in a community or area more frequently within a given time period than expected. Measles and influenza viruses are common causes of epidemics in Australia. Small epidemics are often called outbreaks. [3]

A disease occurring suddenly in a community, region or country in numbers clearly in excess of normal. See pandemic. [6]

The occurrence of disease within a specific geographical area or population that is in excess of what is normally expected. [7]

epidemiology: the study of the frequency and distribution of disease in human populations. [1]

The branch of medical science that deals with the study of incidence and distribution and control of a disease in a population. [5]

The cause of. [7]

Etiologic Agent
A disease-causing organism or toxin. [4]

A more or less inert substance added in a prescription drug compound as a diluent or vehicle or to give form or consistency when the remedy is given in a pill form; simple syrup, aromatic powder, honey, and various elixirs are examples of excipients. [4]

Proteins produced by bacteria that are able to diffuse into a medium through the bacterial cell membrane and cell wall. They are generally more potent and specific in their actions than endotoxins. [4]


U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the government agency responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. FDA is one of 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. [6]

Related to a fever (high temperature), as in febrile illness and febrile convulsions. [3]

Also known as pyrexia, a human body temperature above the normal 98.6°F (37°C). [4]

Fetal Calf Serum
The liquid portion remaining after natural coagulation of blood drawn from the heart of an unborn calf. Because of the absence of gamma globulin, fetal calf serum is a good tissue culture serum. [4]

A colorless, highly irritating, pungent compound used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries as an antimicrobial agent. [4]


A derived protein formed from the collagen of the tissues by boiling in water, sometimes called an albuminoid, though it lacks the characteristic albuminoid properties. Glue, size, and isinglass are forms of gelatin. [4]

The total genetic variability, represented by germ cells or seeds, available to a particular population of organisms. [4]

Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)--
A rare neurological disease characterized by loss of reflexes and temporary paralysis. Symptoms include weakness, numbness, tingling and increased sensitivity that spreads over the body. Muscle paralysis starts in the feet and legs and moves upwards to the arms and hands. Sometimes paralysis can result in the respiratory muscles causing breathing difficulties. Symptoms usually appear over the course of one day and may continue to progress for 3 or 4 days up to 3 or 4 weeks. Recovery begins within 2-4 weeks after the progression stops. While most patients recover, approximately 15%-20% experience persistent symptoms. GBS is fatal in 5% of cases. [7]


Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)--
A bacterial infection that may result in severe respiratory infections, including pneumonia, and other diseases such as meningitis. [7]

half-life: the time required for half the amount of a substance to be eliminated from the body or to be converted to another substance(s). [1]

Abbreviation for hepatitis A virus, the cause of infectious hepatitis, a common infection in travellers in developing countries. [3]

Hepatitis B surface antigen which is found in the blood of a person who is a carrier of active hepatitis B virus infection. [3]

Abbreviation for hepatitis B virus, a virus that is spread in various ways including blood-to-blood contact through sharing injection equipment and by sexual intercourse.[3]

Inflammation of the liver, which can sometimes be caused by a virus. [3]

Hepatitis A--
A minor viral disease, that usually does not persist in the blood; transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food or water. [7]

Hepatitis B--
A viral disease transmitted by infected blood or blood products, or thorugh unprotected sex with someone who is infected. [7]

Hepatitis C--
is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is found in the blood of persons who have the disease. HCV is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person. [7]

Hepatitis D--
is a defective virus that needs the hepatitis B virus to exist. Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is found in the blood of persons infected with the virus. [7]

Hepatitis E--
is a virus (HEV) transmitted in much the same way as hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis E, however, does not often occur in the United States. [7]

helper T cell: lymphocyte bearing the CD4 marker. Helper T cells are the chief regulatory cells of the immune response. They are responsible for many immune system functions, including turning antibody production on and off, and are the main target of HIV infection. (See also CD4+ T lymphocyte.) [1]

Herd immunity--
See Community immunity [7]

Herpes zoster infection (shingles)
This illness is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes varicella (chickenpox). The virus can remain in the nerve cells for a long time after varicella infection (chickenpox) has gone. Symptoms of shingles include a painful rash, usually affecting adults.

Herpes Zoster--
A disease characterized by painful skin lesions that occur mainly on the trunk (back and stomach) of the body but which can also develop on the face and in the mouth. Complications include headache, vomiting, fever and meningitis. Recovery may take up to 5 weeks. Herpes Zoster is caused by the same virus that is responsible for chickenpox. Most people are exposed to this virus during childhood. After the primary infection (chickenpox), the virus becomes dormant, or inactivated. In some people the virus reactivates years, or even decades, later and causes herpes zoster. Also known as the shingles. [7]

Haemophilus influenzae type b< - a bacterium that causes meningitis (inflammation of a membrane surrounding the brain), epiglottitis (inflammation of a membrane in the larynx) and other serious infections in babies and children. [3]

An important surface structure protein of the influenza virus that is an essential gene for the spread of the virus throughout the respiratory tract. This enables the virus to attach itself to a cell in the respiratory system and penetrate it. Referred to as the “H” in influenza viruses. See neuraminidase. [6]

A variant of avian influenza, which is a type of influenza virulent in birds. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and is now known to exist worldwide. [6]

Highly Pathogenic form of Avian Influenza. Avian flu viruses are classified based upon the severity of the illness and HPAI is extremely infectious among humans. The rapid spread of HPAI, with outbreaks occurring at the same time, is of growing concern for human health as well as for animal health. See LPAI. [6]

Human immunodeficiency virus, which can over time develop into AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). People with HIV infection have weakened immunity and need special programs of vaccination to protect them against other infections. [3]

Hib disease: Disease caused by Haemophilus Influenzae type b. Until recently, this disease was the most common cause of deadly bacterial meningitis in children. It can also cause infection of the bloodstream, pneumonia, epiglottis, and otitis media, among other conditions.[2]

An organism on or in which a parasite lives. [6]

Human papilloma virus (HPV)
A group of more than 100 different types of viruses, including over 30 that are sexually transmitted and can infect the genital area of men and women. Some of these viruses cause genital warts or cervical cancer. [3]

humoral immunity: see antibody-mediated immunity.[1]

hypothesis: a tentative statement or supposition, which may then be tested through research. [1]

A condition in which the body has an exaggerated response to a substance (e.g. food or drug). Also known as an allergy. [7]

A condition in which the body has a weakened or delayed reaction to a substance. [7]


immune: A state of being protected against infectious diseases by either specific or non-specific mechanisms (i.e., immunization, previous natural infection, inoculation, or transfer of protective antibodies). For certain diseases, immune mothers may temporarily transfer protective antibodies to their newborns through the placenta. Protection can result from this placental transfer for up to 4-6 months.[2]

Immune globulin--
A protein found in the blood that fights infection. Also known as gamma globulin. [7]

immune system: The body’s very complex system (made of many organs and cells), which defends the body against infection, disease, and foreign substances.[2]

immune system:
The cells, tissues and organs that help the body to resist infection and disease by producing antibodies and/or altered cells that inhibit the multiplication of the infectious agent. [6]

Immune system--
The complex system in the body responsible for fighting disease. Its primary function is to identify foreign substances in the body (bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites) and develop a defense against them. This defense is known as the immune response. It involves production of protein molecules called antibodies to eliminate foreign organisms that invade the body. [7]

immunity: natural or acquired resistance provided by the immune system to a specific disease. Immunity may be partial or complete, specific or nonspecific, long-lasting or temporary.[1]

immunity: The condition of being immune or protected against infection, disease, and foreign substances.[2]

The state of an organism in which protection from many infectious diseases is afforded by prior exposure to the infectious agents. [4]

Protection against a disease. There are two types of immunity, passive and active. Immunity is indicated by the presence of antibodies in the blood and can usually be determined with a laboratory test. See active and passive immunity. [7]

immunization: the process of inducing immunity by administering an antigen (vaccine) to allow the immune system to prevent infection or illness when it subsequently encounters the infectious agent.[1]

immunization: A process or procedure that increases an organism’s reaction to antigens, thereby, improving its ability to resist or overcome infection.[2]

The process by which a person or animal becomes protected against a disease. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation. [7]

Immune Response
The production of antibodies (humoral response) or particular types of cytotoxic lymphoid cells (cell-mediated response) on challenge with an antigen.[4]

A substance that is capable of causing antibody formation. [4]

immunogen: a substance capable of provoking an immune response. Also called an antigen.[1]

immunocompetent: capable of developing an immune response; possessing a normal immune system.[1]

immunogenicity: the ability of an antigen or vaccine to stimulate immune responses.[1]

immunoglobulin: a general term for antibodies, which bind to invading organisms, leading to their destruction. There are five classes of immunoglobulins: IgA, IgG, IgM, IgD and IgE. (See also antibody.)[1]

immunoglobulins: A specific protein substance, produced by plasma cells to help fight infection.[2]

Immunoglobulin (Ig)
A member of a class of proteins that functions as an antibody. The wide range of different specifities of antibodies depends on subtle differences in their structure. [4]

Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
The body's first line of defense against infectious diseases and is present in seromucous secretions such as saliva, tears, nasal fluids, sweat and secretions of the lung and genito-urinary and gastro-intestinal tracts. [4]

Immunoglobulin (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM)
A class of serum proteins rich in antibodies. Often used, along with the more specific monoclonal antibodies, in diagnostic reagents in the health field. [4]

The study of how the body defends itself against disease. [4]

When the immune system is unable to protect the body from disease. This condition can be caused by disease (like HIV infection or cancer) or by certain drugs (like those used in chemotherapy). Individuals whose immune systems are compromised should not receive live, attenuated vaccines. [7]

Inactive vaccine--
A vaccine made from viruses and bacteria that have been killed through physical or chemical processes. These killed organisms cannot cause disease. [7]

Inapparent infection--
The presence of infection without symptoms. Also known as subclinical or asymptomatic infection. [7]

incidence: the rate of occurrence of some event, such as the number of individuals who get a disease divided by a total given population per unit of time. (Contrast with prevalence.) [1]

The number of new disease cases reported in a population over a certain period of time. [7]

inclusion/exclusion criteria: the medical or social reasons why a person may or may not qualify for participation in a clinical trial. For example, some trials may exclude people with chronic liver disease or with certain drug allergies; others may include only people with a low CD4+ T-cell count. [1]

Incubation period
After a person is infected with bacteria or viruses, it often takes days or weeks for the infection to cause symptoms and an obvious illness. The time between infection and the start of symptoms is called the incubation period.

An infection occurs when bacteria or viruses invade the body. If the body cannot fight the infection, it may cause an illness. [3]

Able to cause disease in a susceptible host. [4]

Infectious Agent
A biological organism that can establish a process of infection. [4]

infectious agent:
Any organism, such as a pathogenic virus, parasite, or bacterium, that is capable of invading body tissues, multiplying, and causing disease. [6]

Redness, swelling, heat and pain resulting from injury to tissue (parts of the body underneath the skin). Also known as swelling. [7]

A serious disease caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract. [6]

A highly contagious viral infection characterized by sudden onset of fever, severe aches and pains, and inflammation of the mucous membrane. [7]

The process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the doctors and nurses involved in the trial explain the details of the study. [5]

Safe, not contaminated. [4]

Intradermal injection
An injection into the surface layers of the skin (dermal means skin). This is used for the administration of BCG, the tuberculosis vaccine. [3]

Intramuscular (IM) injection
An injection into the muscle. Vaccines are usually injected into a muscle of the upper outer thigh, or a muscle in the upper arm. [3]

Analysis of clinical trial results that includes all data from participants in the groups to which they were randomized ( See Randomization) even if they never received the treatment. [5]

Inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine. An injectable vaccine that protects against polio. [3]

inoculation: Introduction of material (i.e., vaccine, bacteria) into the body’s tissues.[2]

IND (investigational new drug): the status of an experimental drug after the FDA agrees that it can be tested in people. [1]

Investigational vaccine--
A vaccine that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in clinical trials on humans. However, investigational vaccines are still in the testing and evaluation phase and are not licensed for use in the general public. [7]

informed consent: an agreement signed by prospective volunteers for a clinical research trial that indicates their understanding of (1) why the research is being done, (2) what researchers want to accomplish, (3) what will be done during the trial and for how long, (4) what risks are involved, (5) what, if any, benefits can be expected from the trial, (6) what other interventions are available, and (7) the participant’s right to leave the trial at any time. [1]

intervention: a vaccine (or drug or behavioral therapy) used in a clinical trial to improve health or alter the course of disease. [1]

in vitro: an artificial environment created outside a living organism (e.g., in a test tube or culture plate) used in experimental research to study a disease or biologic process. [1]

in vivo: testing within a living organism, e.g., human or animal studies. [1]

IRB (Institutional Review Board): a committee of physicians, statisticians, community advocates and others that reviews clinical trial protocols before they can be initiated. IRBs ensure that the trial is ethical and that the rights of participants are adequately protected. [1]


Japanese encephalitis - a brain infection caused by a virus. [3]

Yellow skin colour that may happen when a person has severe hepatitis. [3]

Yellowing of the eyes. This condition is often a symptom of hepatitis infection. [7]



An abnormal change in the structure of an organ, due to injury or disease. [7]

Cancer that begins in developing blood cells in the bone marrow. [4]

A general name for white, nucleated blood cells found in the blood and lymphatic tissue. [4]

live vaccine: A vaccine that contains a living, yet weakened organism or virus.[2]

Live vaccine--
A vaccine in which live virus is weakened through chemical or physical processes in order to produce an immune response without causing the severe effects of the disease. Attenuated vaccines currently licensed in the United States include measles, mumps, rubella, polio, yellow fever and varicella. Also known as an attenuated vaccine. [7]

Low Pathogenic form of Avian Influenza. Most avian flu strains are classified as LPAI and typically cause little or no clinical signs in infected birds. However, some LPAI virus strains are capable of mutating under field conditions into HPAI viruses. See HPAI. [6]

Lot Number
Number assigned to a particular batch of vaccine. The size of a lot may be hidden by the vaccine manufacturer so defining a "Hot Lot" is legally difficult. [VL]

Lot, Hot
Vaccine Lot for which more adverse events is reported than average. See VAERS search at:   [VL]

A disease characterized by inflammation of the connective tissue (which supports and connects all parts of the body). Chronic swelling of the connective tissue causes damage to the skin, joints, kidneys, nervous system and mucous membranes. The disease begins with fever, joint pain and fatigue. Additional symptoms continue to develop over the years including nausea, fatigue, weight loss, arthritis, headaches and epilepsy. Problems with heart, lung and kidney function may also result. This condition is diagnosed most frequently in young women but also occurs in children. [7]

Lyme disease--
A bacterial disease transmitted by infected ticks. Human beings may come into contact with infected ticks during outdoor activities (camping, hiking). Symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash (in a circular pattern). Long-term problems include arthritis, nervous system abnormalities, irregular heart rhythm and meningitis. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. A vaccine was available from 1998 to 2002. [7]

A type of white blood cell accounting for 20-25% of the white cells in humans. They are mostly non-phagocytic and actively mobile and are continuously made in the bone marrow. They are the immediate precursors of all antibody-forming cells. [4]

Small white blood cells that help the body defend itself against infection. These cells are produced in bone marrow and develop into plasma cells which produce antibodies. Also known as B cells [7]

Also known as freeze drying, it is a means of stabilizing wet substances by freezing them, then evaporating the resulting ice, to leave a substantially dry, porous residue which has the same size and shape of the original frozen mass. [4]


Monoclonal Antibody) [4]

A large cell that helps the body defend itself against disease by surrounding and destroying foreign organisms (viruses or bacteria). [7]

The knowledge of intervention assignment. See Blind [5]

mean: the arithmetic average, or the sum of all the values divided by the number of values.[1]

A contagious viral disease marked by the eruption of red circular spots on the skin. [7]

median: the midpoint value obtained by ranking all values from highest to lowest and choosing the value in the middle. The median divides a population into two equal halves.[1]

Media (plural of medium)
Substances used to provide sterile nutrients to the fermentation or cell growth process supporting the growth of the live microorganisms. Media may be liquid (broth) or solid, and generally include sucrose or glucose as a carbon source, various minerals, a nitrogen source, and selected growth factors. [4]

memory cell: memory cells are a subset of T cells and B cells that have been exposed to specific antigens and can then proliferate (recognize the antigen and divide) more readily when the immune system re-encounters the same antigens. (See also anamestic response.)[1]

Memory Cell--
A group of cells that help the body defend itself against disease by remembering prior exposure to specific organisms (e.g. viruses or bacteria). Therefore these cells are able to respond quickly when these organisms repeatedly threaten the body. [7]

Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that can result in permanent brain damage and death. [7]

Meningococcal infection
Caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, it can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord) and other serious infections. It is also known as meningococcus.[3]

["men in joe en sef uh LIGHT iss"] -- inflammation of the brain and meninges (membranes) that involves the encephalon (area inside the skull) and spinal column. [7]

A microscopic one-celled organism, animal or vegetable, a microorganism. [4]

A microbe - A microscopic plant or animal, such as a bacterium, protozoan, yeast, virus, or algae. [4]

The measles, mumps-rubella vaccine. [3]

mucosal immunity: resistance to infection across the mucous membranes. Mucosal immunity depends on immune cells and antibodies present in the linings of reproductive tract, gastrointestinal tract and other moist surfaces of the body exposed to the outside world. [1]

Mucosal membranes--
The soft, wet tissue that lines body openings specifically the mouth, nose, rectum and vagina. [7]

Multiple Sclerosis--
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system characterized by the destruction of the myelin sheath surrounding neurons, resulting in the formation of "plaques." MS is a progressive and usually fluctuating disease with exacerbations (patients feeling worse) and remissions (patients feeling better) over many decades. Eventually, in most patients, remissions do not reach baseline levels and permanent disability and sometimes death occurs. The cause of MS is unknown. The most widely held hypothesis is that MS occurs in patients with a genetic susceptibility and that some environmental factors "trigger" exacerbations. MS is 3 times more common in women than men, with diagnosis usually made as young adults. Also see demyelinating disorders. [7]

Acute contagious viral illness marked by swelling, especially of the parotid glands. [7]

An abrupt change of genotype involving either the structure or number of complete chromosomes or, more commonly, a change in the structure of a single gene so that its function is altered or lost. Certain chemicals called mutagens can induce it. [4]

Any alteration in a gene from its natural state. This change may be disease causing or a benign, normal variant. Specific mutations and evolution in influenza viruses cannot be predicted, making it difficult if not impossible to know if or when a virus such as H5N1 might acquire the properties needed to spread easily among humans. [6]

The smallest, free-living organism with a size range from 1.25µm to 0.5µm. Pleomorphic (many shapes) because of a lack of a cell wall. Cannot be quantitatively removed by 0.2µm filtration [4]


An important surface structure protein of the influenza virus that is an essential enzyme for the spread of the virus throughout the respiratory tract. It enables the virus to escape the host cell and infect new cells. Referred to as the “N” in influenza viruses. See hemagglutinin. [6]

Inflammation of the nerves. [7]

neutralizing antibody: an antibody that keeps a virus from infecting a cell, usually by blocking receptors on the cells or the virus. [1]

Any new growth of cells or tissues but the term is customarily used with rather specific reference to a focus (or a relatively large mass or region) of intermittently or constantly progressive, comparatively unlimited, or uncontrolled new growth that manifests varying degrees of autonomy. [4]


open-label trial: a clinical trial in which doctors and participants know which vaccine is being administered to all participants. [1]

opportunistic infection: an illness caused by an organism that usually does not cause disease in a person with a normal immune system. People with advanced HIV infection suffer opportunistic infections of the lungs, brain, eyes and other organs.[1]

Oral (taken by mouth) poliomyelitis vaccine - also known as Sabin vaccine. This vaccine is no longer available in Australia. [3]

A complication of mumps infection occurring in males (who are beyond puberty). Symptoms begin 7-10 days after onset of mumps and include inflammation of the testicles, headache, nausea, vomiting, pain and fever. Most patients recover but in rare cases sterility occurs. [7]

Otitis Media--
A viral or bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of the middle ear. This condition usually occurs along with an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms include earache, high fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, hearing loss, facial paralysis and meningitis may result. [7]

outbreak: Spread of disease, which occurs in a short period of time and in a limited geographic location (i.e., neighborhood, community, school, or hospital).[2]

Sudden appearance of a disease in a specific geographic area (e.g. neighborhood or community) or population (e.g. adolescents). [7]


pandemic: An outbreak of disease that spreads throughout the world.[2]

An epidemic occurring over a very large area. [7]

The worldwide outbreak of a disease in numbers clearly in excess of normal. See epidemic. [6]

Pandemic influenza
Happens when a new strain of the influenza (flu) virus appears and spreads rapidly in the community. It causes more sickness because there is little or no immunity in the community to a new strain. [3]

A medicine that helps to reduce fever, which is given to decrease reactions to vaccination. Aspirin also reduces fever, but it should never be given to children.[3]

Passive immunity--
Protection against disease through antibodies produced by another human being or animal. Passive immunity is effective, but protection is generally limited and diminishes over time (usually a few weeks or months). For example, maternal antibodies are passed to the infant prior to birth. These antibodies temporarily protect the baby for the first 4-6 months of life. [7]

parenteral: administered intravenously or by injection. For example, medications or vaccines may be administered by injection into the fatty layer immediately below the skin (subcutaneous), or into the muscle (intramuscular). Medications, but not vaccines, can also be administered into a vein (intravenously). [1]

Passive Immunity
Temporary immunity produced by administration of gamma globulin. [4]

pathogen: Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi that have the capability to cause disease in humans.[2]

pathogenesis: the origin and development of a disease. More specifically, it’s the way a microbe (bacteria, virus, etc.) causes disease in its host.[1]

Causing disease or capable of doing so. [6]

Review of a clinical trial by experts chosen by the study sponsor. These experts review the trials for scientific merit, participant safety, and ethical considerations. [emphasis added] [5]

Whooping cough, an illness caused by a bacterium, Bordetella pertussis. [3]

(whooping cough) Bacterial infectious disease marked by a convulsive spasmodic cough, sometimes followed by a crowing intake of breath. [7]

["pe TEEK ee ay"] -- a tiny reddish or purplish spot on the skin or mucous membrane, commonly part of infectious diseases such as typhoid fever. [7]

Phase 1 vaccine trial: a closely monitored clinical trial of a vaccine conducted in a small number of healthy volunteers. A Phase 1 is designed to determine the vaccine’s safety in humans, its metabolism and pharmacologic actions, and side effects associated with increasing doses. [1]

Phase 2 vaccine trial: controlled clinical study of a vaccine to identify common short-term side effects and risks associated with the vaccine and to collect information on its immunogenicity. Phase 2 trials enroll some volunteers who have the same characteristics as persons who would be enrolled in an efficacy (Phase 3) trial of a vaccine. Phase 2 trials enroll up to several hundred participants and have more than one arm. [1]

Phase 3 vaccine trial: large controlled study to determine the ability of a vaccine to produce a desired clinical effect on the risk of a given infection, disease, or other clinical condition at an optimally selected dose and schedule. These trials also gather additional information about safety needed to evaluate the overall benefit-risk relationship of the vaccine and to provide adequate basis for labeling. Phase 3 trials usually include several hundred to several thousand volunteers. [1]

Initial studies to determine the metabolism and pharmacologic actions of drugs in humans, the side effects associated with increasing doses, and to gain early evidence of effectiveness; may include healthy participants and/or patients. [5]

Controlled clinical studies conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug for a particular indication or indications in patients with the disease or condition under study and to determine the common short-term side effects and risks. [5]

Expanded controlled and uncontrolled trials after preliminary evidence suggesting effectiveness of the drug has been obtained, and are intended to gather additional information to evaluate the overall benefit-risk relationship of the drug and provide and adequate basis for physician labeling. [5]

Post-marketing studies to delineate additional information including the drug's risks, benefits, and optimal use. [5]

The processes (in a living organism) of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of a drug or vaccine. [5]

pharmacokinetics: the processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of a drug or vaccine. [1]

placebo: an inactive substance administered to some study participants while others receive the agent under evaluation, to provide a basis for comparison of effects. [1]

A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the treatment's effectiveness. (See Placebo Controlled Study) [5]

A substance or treatment that has no effect on human beings. [7]

A method of investigation of drugs in which an inactive substance (the placebo) is given to one group of participants, while the drug being tested is given to another group. The results obtained in the two groups are then compared to see if the investigational treatment is more effective in treating the condition. [5]

A physical or emotional change, occurring after a substance is taken or administered, that is not the result of any special property of the substance. The change may be beneficial, reflecting the expectations of the participant and, often, the expectations of the person giving the substance. [5]

Pneumococcal infection
Caused by a bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae it can cause pneumonia (lung infection) and other serious infections. It is also known as pneumococcus.[3]

Inflammation of the lungs characterized by fever, chills, muscle stiffness, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing. [7]

"Given that a poison is ANY substance that when introduced into or absorbed by the body injures health or destroys life, most of today's pharmaceutical preparations, because of their harmful effects, may be labelled poisonous."
Poisonous Prescriptions by Dr Lisa Landymore-Lim

(polio) An acute infectious viral disease characterized by fever, paralysis, and atrophy of skeletal muscles. [7]

Groups of complex carbohydrates (sugars) which make up the cell coating of bacteria.[3]

Polysaccharide vaccines--
Polysaccharide vaccines-- Vaccines that are composed of long chains of sugar molecules that resemble the surface of certain types of bacteria. Polysaccharide vaccines are available for pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease and Haemophilus Influenzae type b. [7]

Polyvalent vaccine
A combination vaccine which protects against more than one disease. Examples include DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine) and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine). [3]

A measure of strength. [7]

prevalence: the number of people in a given population affected with a particular disease or condition at a given time. Prevalence can be thought of as a snapshot of all existing cases at a specified time. (Contrast with incidence.) [1]

The number of disease cases (new and existing) within a population over a given time period. [7]

An early symptom indicating the onset of an attack or a disease. [7]

A medical procedure or practice that prevents or protects against a disease or condition (eg, vaccines, antibiotics, drugs). [6]

prophylaxis: prevention of disease. [1]

The prevention of, or protective treatment for disease. [4]

protocol: the detailed plan for a clinical trial that states the trial's rationale, purpose, vaccine dosages, routes of administration, length of study, eligibility criteria and other aspects of trial design. [1]

A prospective plan, that when executed as intended, produces documented evidence that a Process or System has been properly qualified. [4]

A study plan on which all clinical trials are based. The plan is carefully designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions. A protocol describes what types of people may participate in the trial; the schedule of tests, procedures, medications, and dosages; and the length of the study. While in a clinical trial, participants following a protocol are seen regularly by the research staff to monitor their health and to determine the safety and effectiveness of their treatment (See Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria). [5]


quarantine: To isolate an individual who has or is suspected of having a disease, in order to prevent spreading the disease to others; alternatively, to isolate a person who does not have a disease during a disease outbreak, in order to prevent that person from catching the disease. Quarantine can be voluntary or ordered by public health officials in times of emergency.[2]

The isolation of a person or animal who has a disease (or is suspected of having a disease) in order to prevent further spread of the disease. [7]

A method based on chance by which study participants are assigned to a treatment group. Randomization minimizes the differences among groups by equally distributing people with particular characteristics among all the trial arms. The researchers do not know which treatment is better. From what is known at the time, any one of the treatments chosen could be of benefit to the participant (See Arm) [5]


randomized trial: a study in which participants are assigned by chance to one of two or more intervention arms or regimens. Randominization minimizes the differences among groups by equally distributing people with particular characteristics among all the trial arms.[1]

A study in which participants are randomly (i.e., by chance) assigned to one of two or more treatment arms of a clinical trial. Occasionally placebos are utilized. (See Arm and Placebo). [5]

reactogenicity: the capacity of a vaccine to produce adverse reactions.[1]

reagent: any chemical used in a laboratory test or experiment.[1]

The rearrangement of genes from two distinct influenza strains to produce a novel viral strain. [6]

Of or resulting from new combinations of genetic material or cells; the genetic material produced when segments of DNA from different sources are joined to produce recombinant DNA. [7]

recombinant DNA technology: the technique by which genetic material from one organism is inserted into a foreign cell in order to mass produce the protein encoded by the inserted genes. [1]

rDNA (Recombinant DNA)
The hybrid DNA produced by joining pieces of DNA from different sources. [4]

retrovirus: HIV and other viruses that carry their genetic material in the form of RNA rather than DNA and have the enzyme reverse transcriptase that can transcribe it into DNA. In most animals and plants, DNA is usually made into RNA, hence "retro" is used to indicate the opposite direction. [1]

reverse transcriptase: the enzyme produced by HIV and other retroviruses that enables them to direct a cell to synthesize DNA from their viral RNA. [1]

Reye Syndrome--
Encephalopathy (general brain disorder) in children following an acute illness such as influenza or chickenpox. Symptoms include vomiting, agitation and lethargy. This condition may result in coma or death. [7]

The likelihood that an individual will experience a certain event. [7]

The risk to individual participants versus the potential benefits. The risk/benefit ratio may differ depending on the condition being treated. [5]

RNA (ribonucleic acid): a single-stranded molecule composed of chemical building blocks, similar to DNA. The RNA segments in cells represent copies of portions of the DNA sequences in the nucleus. RNA is the sole genetic material of retroviruses. [1]

A virus that causes severe diarrhoea, especially in children.[3]

A viral illness, also known as German measles. [3]

(German measles) Viral infection that is milder than normal measles but as damaging to the fetus when it occurs early in pregnancy. [7]

See Measles. [7]


A type of cancer that starts in bone or muscle. [4]

seasonal flu:
A respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available. This is also known as the common flu or winter flu. [6]

The sudden onset of a jerking and staring spell usually caused by fever. Also known as convulsions. [7]

The presence of various pus-forming and other pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood or tissues; septicemia. [4]

One of the plural forms of serum. [4]

The liquid portion remaining after clotting whole blood or plasma. [4]

Development of antibodies in the blood of an individual who previously did not have detectable antibodies. [7]

seroconversion: the development of antibodies to a particular antigen. When people develop antibodies to HIV or an experimental HIV vaccine, they "seroconvert" from antibody-negative to antibody-positive. Vaccine-induced seroconversion does not represent an infection. Instead, vaccine-induced seroconversion is an expected response to vaccination that may disappear over time. [1]

Measurement of antibodies, and other immunological properties, in the blood serum. [7]

Study measuring a person's risk of developing a particular disease. [7]

The process in which the existing H (hemagglutinin) and N (neuraminidase) are replaced by significantly different H and Ns. These new H or H/N combinations are perceived by human immune systems as new, so most people do not have pre-existing antibody protection to these novel viruses. This is one of the reasons that pandemic viruses can have such a severe impact on the health of populations. See drift. [6]

Shingles (herpes zoster infection)
This illness is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes varicella (chickenpox). The virus can remain in the spinal cord for a long time after varicella infection (chickenpox) has gone. Symptoms of shingles include a painful rash, usually affecting adults.[3]

See herpes zoster. [7]

Side Effect--
Undesirable reaction resulting from immunization. [7]

side effect: (See adverse reaction.) [1]

Any undesired actions or effects of a drug or treatment. Negative or adverse effects may include headache, nausea, hair loss, skin irritation, or other physical problems. Experimental drugs must be evaluated for both immediate and long-term side effects (See Adverse Reaction). [5]

A study in which one party, either the investigator or participant, is unaware of what medication the participant is taking; also called single-masked study. (See Blind and Double-Blind Study). [5]

See Single-Blind Study. [5]

An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples that blister, produce pus, and form pockmarks. Also called variola [7]

A class of plants or animals having common attributes and designated by a common name. Theoretically, plants or animals of different species cannot interbreed. However, occasionally this does not hold true. [6]

A group of organisms within a species or variety. [6]

The probability that an event or difference occurred by chance alone. In clinical trials, the level of statistical significance depends on the number of participants studied and the observations made, as well as the magnitude of differences observed. [5]

A primary or secondary outcome used to judge the effectiveness of a treatment. [5]

SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus): an HIV-like virus that infects and causes an AIDS-like disease in some species of monkeys. [1]

Soluble Antigen
Generally used in reference to vaccine production. As opposed to a whole live or attenuated virus, a soluble antigen is a fragment of the virus that produces immunity. Also refers to large molecular weight polysaccharides from some bacteria which can act as vaccines. [4]

statistical significance: the probability that an event or difference occurred as the result of the intervention (vaccine) rather than by chance alone. This probability is determined by using statistical tests to evaluate collected data. Guidelines for defining significance are chosen before data collection begins. [1]

strain: A specific biologic version of a microorganism (i.e. bacterium or virus). The identity of a strain is defined by its genetic makeup, or code; changing just one piece of the code produces a new strain.[2]

stratification: separation of a study cohort into subgroups or strata according to specific characteristics. [1]

Subcutaneous (SC) injection
An injection into the tissue between the skin and the muscle underneath. [3]

subtype: also called a clade. With respect to HIV isolates, a classification scheme based on genetic differences. [1]

subunit vaccine: a vaccine that contains only part of the virus or other microorganism. HIV subunit vaccines produced by genetic engineering are referred to as recombinant subunit HIV vaccines. [1]

Subclinical infection--
The presence of infection without symptoms. Also known as inapparent or asymptomatic infection. [7]

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)--
The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy infant under 1 year of age. A diagnosis of SIDS is made when an autopsy cannot determine another cause of death. The cause of SIDS is unknown. Also known as "crib" or "cot" death. [7]

Unprotected against disease. [7]


T cell: white blood cell critical to the immune response. Among these are CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. The "T" stands for the thymus, where T lymphocytes mature. (See also lymphocyte.) [1]

T-Cell (T-lymphocyte)
A blood cell, probably originating from bone marrow, but which matures in the thymus. Some T-cells are responsible for cell-mediated immunity and in the production of antibodies. [4]

Temporal association--
Two or more events that occur around the same time but are unrelated, chance occurrences. [7]

Toxin-producing bacterial disease marked by painful muscle spasms. [7]

therapeutic HIV vaccine: a vaccine designed to boost the immune response to HIV in a person already infected with the virus. Also referred to as an immunotherapeutic vaccine. [1]

Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative that has been used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930's. There is no evidence that the low concentrations of thimerosal in vaccines have caused any harm other than minor reactions like redness or swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999 the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated from vaccines as a precautionary measure. Today, all routinely recommended childhood vaccines manufactured for the U.S. market contain either no thimerosal or only trace amounts [7]

Tissue Culture
Growing mammalian cells in the laboratory in a tissue culture medium (in vitro). For example, this allows researchers to determine the effects of various chemicals on mammalian cells without experimenting directly on live animals or man. Since a molecule of some toxic substances can harm a single mammalian cell, even one part-per-billion of some impurities can affect a tissue culture. [emphasis added] Therefore, water used to make up tissue culture media should be extremely pure. [4]

A measured sample - the strength of a solution or the concentration of a substance (as an antibody) in solution as determined by titration. [4]

The detection of antibodies in blood through a laboratory test. [7]

Failure to mount an immune reaction on exposure to what would normally be an antigenic substance. [4]

Total Bacteria Count
An estimation of the total number of bacteria in a sample based usually on Standard Methods procedures for collecting, incubating, and counting colony-forming units (cfu).
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) The term used to describe inorganic ions in the water. Usually measured by electrical conductance of the water corrected to 25°C, and expressed as ppm (parts per million). [4]

Pertaining to a substance that is harmful. [4]

An adverse effect produced by a drug that is detrimental to the participant's health. The level of toxicity associated with a drug will vary depending on the condition which the drug is used to treat. [5]

A substance produced by microorganisms that can inhibit cell growth in tissue culture and may cause temperature rise in animals.

Any poisonous agent, especially a poisonous substance produced by one living organism that is poisonous to other organisms. Toxins are usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation. [4]

An antigenic toxin. Example is tetanus toxoid that is a bacterial vaccine. [4]

Transverse Myelitis--
The sudden onset of spinal cord disease. Symptoms include general back pain followed by weakness in the feet and legs that moves upward. There is no cure and many patients are left with permanent disabilities or paralysis. Transverse Myelitis is a demyelinating disorder that may be associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Also see demyelinating disorders. [7]

Triple Antigen
Another name for the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. [3]

An abnormal growth of cells. Also defined as a circumscribed growth, not inflammatory in character, arising from preexisting tissue, but independent of the normal rate or laws of growth of such tissue, and subserving no physiological function. [4]


The eruption of red marks on the skin that are usually accompanied by itching. This condition can be caused by an allergy (e.g. to food or drugs), stress, infection or physical agents (e.g. heat or cold). Also known as hives. [7]


vaccination:Injection of a weakened or killed microorganism (bacterium or virus) given for the prevention or treatment of infectious diseases.[2]

The administration of a vaccine. [The terms vaccination and immunisation are not exactly the same; vaccination is the process of giving a vaccine, while immunisation is the process of both giving a vaccine and the body developing an immune response as a result of the vaccine.][3]

A product that produces immunity therefore protecting the body from the disease. Vaccines are administered through needle injections, by mouth and by aerosol. [7]

vaccine: a preparation that stimulates an immune response that can prevent an infection or create resistance to an infection. [1]

vaccine:A product of weakened or killed microorganism (bacterium or virus) given for the prevention or treatment of infectious diseases.[2]

A product made from whole, or extracts of, killed viruses or bacteria, or from live weakened strains of viruses or bacteria. [3]

A preparation consisting of antigens of a disease-causing organism which, when introduced into the body, stimulates the production of specific antibodies or altered cells. This produces an immunity to the disease-causing organism. The antigen in the preparation can be whole disease-causing organisms (killed or weakened) or parts of these organisms. [6]

A preparation of microbial antigens that provokes an immune response (i.e. the production of antibodies) on injection, thus conferring immunity on the recipient. There are three types of vaccines:

A preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease. [4]

vaccine schedule:A chart or plan of vaccinations that are recommended for specific ages and/or circumstances.[2]

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)--
A database managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. VAERS provides a mechanism for the collection and analysis of adverse events associated with vaccines currently licensed in the United States. Reports to VAERS can be made by the vaccine manufacturer, recipient, their parent/guardian or health care provider. For more information on VAERS call (800) 822-7967. [7]

Vaccine Safety Datalink Project (VSD)--
In order to increase knowledge about vaccine adverse events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have formed partnerships with eight large health Management Organizations (HMOs) to continually evaluate vaccine safety. The project contains data on more than 6 million people. Medical records are monitored for potential adverse events following immunization. The VSD project allows for planned vaccine safety studies as well as timely investigations of hypothesis. [7]

vaccinia: a cowpox virus, formerly used in human smallpox vaccines. Employed as a vector in HIV vaccines to transport HIV genes into the body. [1]

Varicella (chickenpox) is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which belongs to the herpes group of viruses.[3]

(Chickenpox) -- An acute contagious disease characterized by papular and vesicular lesions. [7]

See smallpox. [7]

vector: in vaccine research, a bacterium or virus that does not cause disease in humans and is used in genetically engineered vaccines to transport genes coding for antigens into the body to induce an immune response. (See also vaccinia and canarypox.) [1]

Characterized by small elevations of the skin containing fluid (blisters). [7]

viremia: the presence of virus in the bloodstream. [1]

How well or quickly a virus or bacteria is able to cause disease in a person.[3]

The relative capacity of a pathogen to overcome body defenses. [7]

Highly lethal; causing severe illness or death. [6]

A tiny living organism, viruses are smaller than bacteria. Examples of infections caused by virus include measles, >rubella, mumps, polio, influenza (flu) and hepatitis B. [3]

virus: a microorganism composed of a piece of genetic material – RNA or DNA – surrounded by a protein coat. To replicate, a virus must infect a cell and direct its cellular machinery to produce new viruses. [1]

virus:A tiny parasite that grows and reproduces in living cells. Vaccines prevent illnesses caused by the following viruses: Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Hepatitis A.[2]

Any of various simple submicroscopic parasites of plants, animals, and bacteria that often cause disease and that consist essentially of a core of RNA or DNA surrounded by a protein coat. Unable to replicate without a host cell, viruses are typically not considered living organisms. [6]

A tiny organism that multiplies within cells and causes disease such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and hepatitis. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, the drugs used to kill bacteria. [7]


Waning Immunity--
The loss of protective antibodies over time. [7]

Western blot: a blood test to detect antibodies to several specific components of a virus such as HIV. This test is most often used to confirm a positive ELISA. [1]

Western Blot
A procedure in which a mixture of proteins is separated on a polyacrylamide gel and then transferred to a nylon membrane. The membrane may then be treated with reagents such as specific antibodies to locate a protein of interest. [4]

White Blood Cell
A blood cell containing no respiratory pigment. In vertebrates it may be a polymorphonuclear leukocyte, a lymphocyte or a monocyte. [4]

World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations established in 1948 to further international cooperation in improving health conditions. [6]

Whooping Cough--
See Pertussis [7]




Zeta Potential
The charge or potential existing at the surface of a particle. It is the positive charge measured at the surface of the membrane across the pH range. [4]

Pretaining to a class of diseases caused by unsanitary conditions and which are made severe by malnutrition. The plague, smallpox, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, cholera and diptheria are common examples. [VL]

Diseases that are transferable from animals to humans. [6]

An abbreviation for herpes zoster infection (shingles), which is a painful rash and illness caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus chickenpox. [3]


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