5 Main Differences Between Drug and Vaccine

Vaccines and drugs are different in terms of their research and development, marketing, supply sources, regulation and access. Both the products are manufactured for a specific disease condition or disorder. Research and development in both the fields are ongoing and time-consuming. However, the major differences between them are classified below:

  1. Drug Research and development starts with new insights on the disease that allows the researchers to develop a drug to stop the severity of a disease. The drug discovery and development is finding the existing treatment of the disease and developing a medicine by gathering information on how it is accepted, distributed, metabolized and excreted from the body. On the other hand, vaccine research focuses on eradicating a disease from the population. For vaccine research and development, the research is done to find the vaccine antigen.
  2. A drug is a chemical, herbal, or biological product to cure diagnose or treat a disease or a condition. A drug is to cure a disease that has already occurred or is about to occur. On the other hand, a vaccine is a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to develop immunity against a specific disease. The vaccine prevents from getting infected with a particular disease. The mode of administration for both of them can be oral or an intravenous source.
  3. Drugs are classified according to their chemical or biological structure; mechanism of action; origin of the drug; site of action; mode of action and the therapeutic activity. Contrary to it, vaccines can be of two different types. It can be a live and attenuated vaccine, inactivated vaccine, and recombinant DNA vaccine.
  4. A drug can be made from natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic sources. The drug researcher uses a chemical substance and their mixtures to form a medical drug. On the other hand, a vaccine is made from a biological, synthetic source. Some of the vaccines are even made from live or inactivated microorganisms, toxins, and antigens.
  5. Drugs are taken orally or intravenously upon need. The course of a drug starts after getting infected with the disease. It may last for 3 to 6 days depending on the severity and the type of infectious disease. Whereas, vaccines can be taken by every child after birth. A new born has to be given a number of vaccines and it’s booster shots to prevent them from deadly infections. Routine vaccination is given to children hepatitis A, B, polio, mumps, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, rubella, tetanus, chickenpox, rotavirus, influenza, meningococcal disease and pneumonia. Now, with the advent, there are adult vaccinations also like cervical vaccination given to the girls who reached puberty.

Both vaccine and drugs are medical products having their beneficial and adverse effect. They both contain an active and inactive ingredient. Before the promotion, market, or sales both of them should clear the FDA approval. It’s must for every vaccine or a drug to comply with the standards of quality, efficacy, and safety.


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