what is the role of edward jenner in the discovery of vaccination

Asked by Abdul Hamid | 25th Jul, 2011, 12:00: AM

Expert Answer:

Edward Jenner was an English country doctor who pioneered vaccination. Jenner's discovery in 1796 that inoculation with cowpox gave immunity to smallpox, was an immense medical breakthrough and has saved countless lives. 

In 1788, during an epidemic of smallpox, Jenner observed that those of his patients who worked with cattle and had come in contact with the much milder disease called cowpox never came down with smallpox.

Jenner extracted some liquid from the sores of a milkmaid suffering from cow pox and then took some liquid from the sores of a patient with mild smallpox.

Jenner believed that if he could inject someone with cowpox, the germs from the cowpox would make the body able to defend itself against the dangerous smallpox germs which he would inject later.

Jenner then inoculated the liquid from the milkmaid's cowpox sores into the open wounds of a local farmer's boy. The boy went down with cowpox but was not very ill. Six weeks later when the boy had recovered, Jenner vaccinated him again, this time with the smallpox virus, but the boy did not contract small pox. The immunity which he developed during the cow pox protected him from small pox.

 Jenner called his idea " vaccination" from the word vaccinia which is latin for cowpox. Jenner also introduced the term virus.

Answered by  | 25th Jul, 2011, 11:53: AM

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