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History of Vaccination

by Peter Delves, PhD
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    It’s sometimes quite hard to look back in history and find the origins of particular medical procedures. But there is evidence for the ancient Chinese practice of variolation using dried smallpox scabs blown into the nose. This produced a milder form of the disease. It was not without risks. Around about 1-2% of variolated individuals died. However this compares with approximately 30% who died following natural infection. These individuals were subsequently protected from smallpox. By 1700, variolation had been adopted in India, the Ottoman Empire and Africa. Edward Jenner noted in England that dairymaids infected with cowpox became immune to smallpox. In 1796 he deliberately infected a boy, James Phipps, with cowpox through scratches in the skin. Subsequently he exposed the boy to smallpox. Clearly with today’s ethics committees, there is no way this experiment could be done. But in those days he was able to do this. And I’m sure he was incredibly relieved to find that the boy was actually protected. Jenner published his findings in 1798, concluding that vaccination provided immunity to smallpox. And this really laid the foundations of modern day vaccinology as we know it. So what’s required for a successful vaccine? Of course it needs to be effective, it needs to work. It needs to elicit an appropriate adaptive immune response, that will depend upon the particular pathogen. Are antibodies required to defeat the pathogen or are cytotoxic T-lymphocytes required? Or maybe both? The vaccine needs to be stable, needs to be affordable. So it needs to be relatively inexpensive. And of course it has to be safe. There are two infectious diseases that have been completely eradicated from the world following global vaccination campaigns. Smallpox was eradicated from humans in the year 1979. Rinderpest which does not affect humans but is a important...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture History of Vaccination by Peter Delves, PhD is from the course Vaccine Immunology.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Rinderpest
    2. Cowpox
    3. Plague
    4. Ebola
    5. Leprosy
    1. Universal
    2. Effective
    3. Inexpensive
    4. Safe
    5. Stable
    1. Afghanistan
    2. USA
    3. India
    4. Brazil
    5. Poland

    Author of lecture History of Vaccination

     Peter Delves, PhD

    Peter Delves, PhD


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