Discovery of the Smallpox Vaccine - Essay Example

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The origin of Smallpox is uncertain, but many scholars argue that its origin around the 3rd century BCE in the Egyptian empire that was in the form of rash found on mummies. China in the 4the century first presented a written description of the diseases. Smallpox is caused by variola virus whereby a patient experiences painful lesions whereby the survivors are left with disfiguring scars while others even go blind. The disease was severe and as Baxby (1981) indicates, three out of ten people who were infected with the virus dies and the one who survived remained with numerous scars in all over their body. The disease was later discovered in Europe in the fifth and seventh century and was epidemic during the middle ages. Its effect was felt during the development of western civilization which was observed in the decline of Roman Empire in 108Ad which was referred to as the plague of Antonine that killed over seven million people. According to Baxby (1981 p23-34), the disease had a fatality rate that ranged from 20 to 60% in adults but was sever in infants. Smallpox affected all level of societies, in Europe over four hundred thousand people die annually. In the later 1800s, infants were the ones greatly affected covering a percentage close to 98% in Berlin and 80% in London. Due to these facts, government agencies and private bodies called for scientific research and experimentation to respond on ways and mechanisms of preventing and curing this epidemic.

What surfaced from this Smallpox disease is that the survivors of it became immune to the disease. The survivors of the small box were called to help nurture the ones who were infected. Many approaches were applied to prevent and cure the disease by treating cold and using herbal remedies. For instance, from 1624 to 1689, Doctor Sydenham managed his patients by opening the room windows open, not allowing any heat inside the room, he placed the bedding clothes in the patients to be lower in the waist and gave the patients twelve bottles of beer each day. It was one of the ways used, but it never yielded any result (Belongia & Naleway, 2003 p52).

The first attempt to the discovery and combating smallpox vaccine was inoculation. Inoculation aimed to safely lead people through what was referred to as an unavoidable disease. From the 1760s, this idea became simpler, safer and less expensive. This practice of inoculation was now widely adopted, and many stated used to cure the epidemic including India, African, and China. In India, religious group Brahman performed inoculation in unification with a devoted cult of smallpox. Riedel (2005) indicates that the inoculator typically utilized a lancet wet with new issue taken from a ready pustule of some individual who experienced smallpox. The material was then subcutaneously presented on the arms or legs of the nonimmune individual. Even though at that time inoculation was the main treatment and prevention method, it was not without its risks. Some fears disseminated smallpox development in the recipients who will further spread it to others. This also raised questions on the transmission of other diseases like syphilis.

Inoculation originated from China where tubes were used to insert powdered smallpox scabs into the nostril. In turkey, pus was scratched into the skin from lesions. Inoculation later reached in Europe and spread to other parts of the world. Though this method was widely used and recognized, it had fluctuating gradations of success. Other people responded positively to the treatment and became immune while others responded negatively to inoculation and were infected and died giving rise to a new epidemic.

Edward Jenner was the first to publish the process of vaccination publically in 1796. During this time, people were already being vaccinated through a process called inoculation that originated from India. This was achieved purposely by infecting a person with a lesser dose of the disease for preventing inferior infection a process that was also referred to as variolation or insufflation. Doctor Edward Jenner was the first to publish an adequate effort to induce immunity against smallpox.

At the age of thirteen years, Edward Jenner was an apprentice to a local doctor. During this time as an apprentice, he always noticed people working cattle's contracting cowpox. This disease was similar to smallpox, but it was less chronic and had mild symptoms that never lasted for long. To his discovery, the people that contracted cowpox never in any case contract smallpox. With this observation, Edward Jenner came of the thought that if a person had cowpox, then he/she will be immune to smallpox (Belongia & Naleway, 2003). At the age of 21, he completed his apprentice and went to study with John Hunter in London. John Hunter at the time was a one of the staff in Saint George Hospital and was one of the successful surgeons in England gaining respect in anatomy, biology and experimental science. According to Riedel, Stefan. (2005), Jenner maintained a good friendship with Hunter increasing his curiosity and activity and also made significant progress in clinical surgery. At the end of 2 years, Edward Jenner wet back to Berkeley to study medicine. Although his first attempt was to publish a short communication describing his observation and experiment at the Royal Society was in 1797, his request was rejected. The following year, he presented more cases to his original writings and published it privately. His publication was met with mixed reactions among the medical practitioners and experts.

In his hypothesis test, Jenner inoculated a boy with cowpox then later tried to infect him with smallpox. His experiment was successful. Edward Jenner traveled to London to persuade his associates of the vaccine's capacity to present resistance without the specialist danger of dispersed sickness or fundamental frameworks (Gross & Sepkowitz, 1998 p42-65). Numerous unmistakable doctors restricted this training. Proficient envy, money related contemplations, and worry about taking a chance with their notorieties by performing untested methods all assumed a part. In spite of the protests of the therapeutic foundation, vaccination quickly turned out to be more far-reaching. However, it was accounted for that more than 66% of beneficiaries experienced summed up ejections, in stamped complexity to Jenner's initial reports of cowpox vaccination. Jenner ascribed this wonder to defilement of lymph, the substance utilized for vaccination, with smallpox virus. Jenner's test was a win. His patient deserted to contract smallpox, although when purposely presented to variola. By 1800, cowpox vaccinations were typical, primarily because they caused fewer symptoms than variolation with smallpox itself (Gross & Sepkowitz, 1998 p42-65).

Lymph was spread by extricating material from an immunized person's pustule to use on consequent patients. This arm-to-arm section was intermittently supplemented with cowpox material at whatever point a dynamic instance of this uncommon sickness was found. About 1850, a British doctor named Cheyne added glycerol to cowpox lymph and found that it averted disintegration without diminishing viability. The drawn-out capacity time empowered doctors to stop arm-to-arm section of the vaccine, drastically diminishing the potential for pollution. The more modern detailing of vaccine additionally enabled worldwide appropriation out of the blue, as the time span of usability never again blocked long-remove shipping.

By the middle of the twentieth century, smallpox was an irregularity in industrialized countries. The improvement of a stop dried vaccine, which stayed stable for any longer periods at encompassing temperature, was a significant advance in the journey for smallpox obliteration. Leslie Collier built up a technique for large-scale manufacturing of freeze-dried vaccine in the mid-1950s.' It is intriguing to take note of that the virus utilized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to destroy smallpox in the twentieth century was really vaccinia virus, which is particular from both cowpox and smallpox virus. Its starting point is indistinct. In 1967 Riedel (2005) indicates that the World Health Organization propelled a worldwide inoculation battle to wipe out smallpox. The organization then implemented ways of eradicating smallpox through a worldwide vaccination campaign. This was certified and verified in 1977 by the commission of researchers and 1980 by the World Health assembly (Board of Life Sciences, 2004).

In conclusion, caused by variola virus, smallpox stood as a threat to human existence since its discovery. The first attempt to the discovery and combating smallpox vaccine was inoculation. Inoculator typically utilized a lancet wet with new issue taken from a ready pustule of some individual who experienced smallpox. Though this method was widely used and recognized, it had fluctuating gradations of success. The acknowledgment of these actualities ought not to lessen our perspective of Jenner's achievements. His steady advancement of vaccination changed the way medicine was rehearsed. Reevaluation of the unique setting of his work shows that Jenner's commitment was for sure a key advance toward the end of smallpox. However, it is similarly evident that his work was one of the endless key advances and not the solitary, critical one. Edward Jenner is to be sure a legend, yet he is one of numerous. If history reflects leap forward after achievement, however, at that point this is the thing that people in general expects. The improvement of a stop dried vaccine, which stayed stable for any longer periods at encompassing temperature, was a significant advance in the journey for smallpox devastation.

Reference list

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Methods and other vaccines affected the acceptance of smallpox vaccine. Berkeley, UK, Jenner Museum.

Baxby, D. (1981). Jenner's smallpox vaccine: the riddle of vaccinia virus and its origin. London,


Bazin, H., & Jenner, E. (2000). The eradication of smallpox: Edward Jenner and the first and

Only eradication of a human infectious disease. San Diego, Calif, Academic Press.

Belongia Ea, & Naleway Al. (2003). Smallpox vaccine: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Clinical

Medicine & Research. 1, 87-92.

Board of Life Sciences. (2004). Discovery of antivirals against smallpox. Washington, D.C.,

National Academies Press.

Clements, H. (1902). Is vaccination a failure? And the discovery of the cause and law of small-

Pox and other epidemics. London, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.

Gross, C. P., & Sepkowitz, K. A. (1998). The myth of the medical breakthrough: Smallpox,

Vaccination, and Jenner reconsidered. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 3, 54-60.

Riedel, Stefan. (2005). Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination. Baylor

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