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HISTORY MEME : (1/3) inventions - Vaccination

Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate an individual’s immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen. Vaccines can prevent or ameliorate morbidity from infection. The discovery of vaccination is attributed to the British physician Edward Jenner, who in 1796 used the cowpox virus (vaccinia) to confer protection against smallpox, a related virus, in humans. Prior to this use, however, the principle of vaccination was applied by Asian physicians who gave children dried crusts from the lesions of people suffering from smallpox to protect against the disease. While some developed immunity, others developed the disease. Jenner’s contribution was to use a substance similar to, but safer than, smallpox to confer immunity. He thus exploited the relatively rare situation in which immunity to one virus confers protection against another viral disease. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases; widespread immunity due to vaccination is largely responsible for the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the restriction of diseases such as polio, measles, and tetanus from much of the world. (+)


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