Jenner Edward


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Jen·ner

 (jĕn′ər), Edward 1749-1823.
British physician who developed a vaccine for smallpox that involved inoculating a person with the substance from cowpox lesions.

Jen·ner

(jĕn′ər), Edward 1749-1823.
British physician who pioneered the practice of vaccination. His experiments proved that people who had been inoculated with matter from cowpox, a mild skin disease of cattle, were immune to smallpox. Jenner's discovery laid the foundations for the science of immunology.
Biography In 1980 the World Health Organization declared that the deadly disease smallpox had been eradicated, thanks to the success of the smallpox vaccine. This triumph of medicine goes back over 200 years to the British physician Edward Jenner. Jenner based his work on a piece of folk wisdom from the countryside that few doctors had taken seriously: if a person got cowpox, a mild disease of cattle, the person never got smallpox. Jenner proved scientifically that this was true in a famous experiment he did on an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, in 1796. He exposed the boy to a person with cowpox, then two months later exposed the boy to smallpox (something that would be considered unethical by today's standards). Luckily, as Jenner expected, the boy warded off the smallpox with no problem. Before Jenner, a kind of vaccination against smallpox did exist in the form of exposing people to a mild form of the disease. While this often worked quite well, it was risky, and the exposed person sometimes died. Through further experiments Jenner refined his new method and soon set up the first successful vaccination program in history. Because of his work, systematic vaccination as a way of preventing disease became a central part of medicine.
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