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Chapter 12 : The Birth of Immunology

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The Birth of Immunology, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

This chapter emphasizes that all Louis Pasteur's work on vaccination was carried out within a very few years, at the end of his scientific life, and against immense odds. For thousands of years it had been known that persons recovered from a given disease were more likely to be more resistant than their fellow humans to the same disease. Either by accident or by trial and error, certain simple techniques of immunization had been developed to bring about this state of increased resistance. One of these techniques had grown from the knowledge among dairymaids in England that they did not develop smallpox if they had had an attack of cowpox—a folklore experience that Edward Jenner had converted into a practical technique of vaccination. One century after Jenner, Pasteur guessed that vaccination against smallpox with cowpox was in reality the specialized application of a general law of nature—namely, that one can vaccinate against many types of microbial diseases by using related microorganisms of attenuated virulence. This generalization led to the development of general techniques for the production of vaccines. It gave birth to the science of immunology and encouraged chemists to study the nature of the substances in microorganisms that are capable of inducing resistance to infection. Thus, the biological science of immunology progressively evolved into its chemical counterpart, immunochemistry.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12

Key Concept Ranking

Human Infectious Diseases
0.6340661
Skin Infections
0.49858072
Infectious Diseases
0.47903898
0.6340661
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a)Edward Jenner, the English physician who discovered vaccination, (b) One of Jenner's drawings showing the development of characteristic pustules on the arm of a person inoculated with cowpox vaccine.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

The farm at Pouilly le Fort where Pasteur's famous public trial of his anthrax vaccine took place in May 1881.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Figure 3

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

The rabies vaccine, (a) Pasteur in his laboratory examining one of his spinal cord preparations. From a 19th century painting, (b) An original preparation of Pasteur's, still preserved in the Pasteur Institute, showing the manner in which he dried the spinal cords of rabbits to alternate the virulence of the rabies virus.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Image of Figure 5
Figure 5

A drawing from a 19th century illustrated French magazine, showing Pasteur supervising the rabies vaccination of Jean Baptiste Jupille.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Image of Figure 6
Figure 6

Pasteur's initial successes attracted large numbers of people seeking the vaccine, (a) Pasteur photographed amidst a group of children who had received rabies vaccine after having been bitten by rabid dogs, (b) A group of Russians bitten by a rabid wolf who came to Paris to receive the Pasteur treatment.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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Image of Figure 7
Figure 7

Pasteur depicted as the savior of children threatened by rabid dogs. Cartoon from a 19th century illustrated magazine.

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12
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References

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Tables

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Table 1

Pasteur's legacy: Available vaccines today for infectious diseases in humans

Citation: Dubos R. 1998. The Birth of Immunology, p 109-126. In Pasteur and Modern Science. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818265.ch12

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