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One Person Can Make a Difference

July 22, 2010

Father of Immunology

Just a small inspirational story that shows that one person is good enough to change the world, you just need the will power and hard work to accomplish your dreams.

Lets take a short trip to the 1700’s…

Ever heard of Edward Jenner? He was an English doctor. He is the reason small pox does not cause a threat to human life anymore.

In 1796, he carried out his now famous experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps. Jenner inserted pus taken from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into an incision on the boy’s arm. He was testing his theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of the greatest killers of the period, particularly among children. Jenner subsequently proved that having been inoculated with cowpox Phipps was immune to smallpox. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society in 1797 describing his experiment, but was told that his ideas were too revolutionary and that he needed more proof. Undaunted, Jenner experimented on several other children, including his own 11-month-old son. In 1798, the results were finally published and Jenner coined the word vaccine from the Latin ‘vacca’ for cow.

Jenner was widely ridiculed. Critics, especially the clergy, claimed it was repulsive and ungodly to inocculate someone with material from a diseased animal. A satirical cartoon of 1802 showed people who had been vaccinated sprouting cow’s heads. But the obvious advantages of vaccination and the protection it provided won out, and vaccination soon became widespread. Jenner became famous and now spent much of his time researching and advising on developments in his vaccine.

He never gave up even though he had no support, didn’t take no for an answer, kept working until he reached what he wanted.

Now he is known as the father of immunology.

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