Measles, that deadly childhood infectious disease is almost a distant memory to most people nowadays, that is except for a few isolated outbreaks across the US and Europe. This is all because of a really amazing preventative therapy: the vaccine.
Vaccines are great. They are by far the most effective means that we have to control - and hopefully eradicate - infectious diseases from a range of species. Measles is one of these diseases that, over the last half a decade or so, we have backed into a corner across the world. Before the introduction of global immunisation the measles virus caused around 2.6 million deaths, most of which were children. To show just how great the vaccine is: 2008 saw only 164,000 deaths (see the WHO data here). A big number still but a 97% decrease in associated fatalities is pretty impressive, so why then - in an editorial piece in the esteemed journal Vaccine, are they calling for researchers to develop a new vaccine?