"I am strongly touched by your proposition. But I cannot accept it, since you have not been bitten."
Edward Jenner had discovered that human beings could be protected against smallpox by inoculating them with a vaccine made from cowpox, a disease generally seen in cattle and identical to smallpox yet harmless in humans. Jenner’s discovery was based on exceptional circumstances – the existence of a disease similar to the human...
Edward Jenner had discovered that human beings could be protected against smallpox by inoculating them with a vaccine made from cowpox, a disease generally seen in cattle and identical to smallpox yet harmless in humans. Jenner’s discovery was based on exceptional circumstances – the existence of a disease similar to the human disease, but in animals, with a causative agent that triggers a protective response in humans.
Louis Pasteur was a French chemist who is recognized as the most important figure in medical history for proving that germs cause infection and disease. He also developed pasteurization of milk and beer to kill these microorganisms, as well as vaccines against anthrax and rabies and pioneered antisepsis by doctors. His contributions are of such magnitude that he was named as #12 in the book “The 100 Most Influential Persons in History”, following the likes of Isaac Newton, John Gutenberg and Jesus.
His great step forward with the first use of injection by a laboratory- created vaccination process: the first vaccine as we know it today. In 1872, despite enduring a stroke and the death of 2 of his daughters to typhoid, Louis Pasteur created the first modern vaccine: the vaccine for fowl cholera in chickens.
In 1885, he successfully set out to prevent rabies through post-exposure vaccination. The treatment was controversial. Pasteur had unsuccessfully attempted to use the vaccine on humans twice before, and injecting a human with a disease agent was still a new and controversial method. But he used his new vaccinate, in July 1885, to save the life of a boy bitten by a rabid dog. Pasteur, not a medical doctor, had created the first ever modern vaccine and a cure for rabies. A select few would be vaccinated that first year.
Autograph letter signed, in French, Paris, October 30, 1885, to a woman. “I am strongly touched by your proposition. But I cannot accept it, since you have not been bitten.”
It seems obvious from context that the woman had offered to be given the vaccination as a test subject.
This is a rarity. Public records list just a handful of letters of Pasteur on this subject having reached the market and only 2 others during this initial test phase of the vaccine.
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