If person A is infected (COVID-19) and person B is not, could the following work as a vaccination? Person A exhales (coughs?) into a a transparent bag. The bag is radiated for a long time with a strong ultraviolet (UV) light as is found in some residential well-water systems. Person B inhales the contents of the bag.

I am curious mostly about how virus particles are damaged at the molecular level by UV light and how this relates to how vaccines are manufactured today.

  • $\begingroup$ SE Biology is a question and answer site — not a discussion site or a site for floating ideas. It is concerned with the mechanisms of biological processes, not medical aspects of biology. I therefore think that your question on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak is off-topic here. You are advised to consult more appropriate reputable sources for such information, some of which are listed here. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 27 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @David Respectfully, my question is simply "Is this (a UV-light vaccine design) possible?" "COVID-19" is just a modifier (it could be any pathogen). I sat for minutes deciding whether to post this on Medical SE, but it's the DNA damage that's in question and how the body would respond to it, so I posted here. And judging by your background, in relation to the last sentence of the question, I'm surprised you didn't offer an answer! $\endgroup$ – kackle123 Mar 28 at 17:31

Short answer: probably not.

Long answer: for your body to build immunity against something, it needs to identify it as something harmful to you. Otherwise, how would it know if this is just some random particle in your environment that it should ignore? There are molecular clues that your body uses to recognize better whether something is likely a pathogen (that means it should try to build immunity against) and those are some of the additives (known as adjuvants) present in man-made vaccines.

Also, the route of administration is also important. Things that you eat or breath in are triaged by the waldeyer ring because maybe you just ate something that is alive, but not exactly a pathogen. Dysfunctions in this process (thinking a normal protein is part of a dangerous pathogen) is believed to be one of the possible causes of allergies. Injecting it into your blood-stream often makes it more effective (but there are exceptions: polio vaccine however can be orally administered).

A nice read about this topic is this: The dichotomy of pathogens and allergens in vaccination approaches.

This is perhaps a must read on this topic: What to expect of a good vaccine and how to achieve it.

I'm not really sure what else to tell you. The process you described is a part of the manufacturing of some vaccines, so you are on the right track. But vaccines are hard to make, you can't do it for every disease and involves a lot of experimenting.

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  • $\begingroup$ As a layperson, I always thought vaccines were damaged, non-functional pieces of the original pathogen. The body would then recognize these fragments as something to attack. Perhaps that's incorrect thinking. Thank you for the links, though. It will take me a while to get through them. Initially, I don't see much about the use of ultraviolet light in the design of vaccines in them, but they might point me in the right direction. $\endgroup$ – kackle123 Mar 28 at 17:14

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