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Edward Jenner- The Pioneer of Small Pox vaccine

Updated on April 4, 2016
Edward Jenner
Edward Jenner | Source
Cow Pox
Cow Pox | Source
Small Pox vaccine
Small Pox vaccine | Source
Cuculus canorus
Cuculus canorus
Plesiosaur fossil
Plesiosaur fossil | Source

Edward Jenner- Father of Immunology

" The deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of diseases". This observation by Jenner beautifully explain the origin of diseases. It was in his pursuit for a cure to such diseases which contributed the astounding works of Edward Jenner. Smallpox was an acute contagious disease that devastated mankind for many centuries. Edward Anthony Jenner often called " father of immunology", is considered to be the pioneer of small pox vaccine. Thanks to the brilliant efforts of Edward Jenner in the contribution to immunization and eradication of small pox.

Edward Anthony Jenner was born on 17th May 1949 in Berkeley,Gloucestershire, England, the son of a local vicar named Reverend Stephen Jenner at Berkeley. During his schooling, he was apprenticed for seven years to a local surgeon of Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire at the age of 14 where he acquired most of the experience needed to qualify himself as a surgeon. Edward Jenner was again apprenticed in surgery and anatomy under surgeon John Hunter at St.George's hospital in 1770. In 1773, he returned back to his native countryside(Berkeley)as an accomplished family doctor and surgeon.

One day Jenner's gardener a milkmaid named Sarah Nelmes was infected with cowpox. Edward Jenner learned from his observations that milkmaids are usually immune to smallpox. He presumed that the pus formed in the blister that milkmaid received from cowpox safeguarded her from smallpox. On 14th May 1796, he conducted his postulation by inoculating an eight year old boy James Phipps with cowpox pus from Nelmes, consequently Phipps falls ill with a mild case of smallpox. Later on that day, Phipps was vaccinated with Variola and soon he recovered. The boy was later inoculated again, showed no signs of any disease. The experiment was a success. Edward Jenner's innovative technique was soon adopted by the doctors all over Europe that led to a drastic decline in the new sufferers of the devastating disease.

The discovery of vaccination spread out all around the world where he spent rest of his life in supplying cowpox materials to others and debated on related scientific matters. He transported the cowpox materials by taking matter from human cow pox pocks and drying it onto threads and glass.

Edward Jenner and Ornithology:

The cuckoo is very distinctive among other birds, the way it parasitizes other species of birds during the rearing of its young. It lays a single egg in the nest of other bird of another species most probably hedge sparrow. The young cuckoo is then fed and raised by the foster parents believing it were their own. Only the young cuckoo cling to life. Edward Jenner had a passion in studying the nesting habits of the cuckoo. Jenner was intent to ascertain how the young cuckoo remained alive. He became aware of the fact that it was not the parent cuckoo that ejected foster parent's eggs and chicks from the nest. This was executed by the newly hatched cuckoo. It pushes it's host eggs and fledgling chicks out of the nest. This task was repeated until only it remained in the nest. Hence, it was able to gain control over the food supplied by the foster parents. Based on this behavior, he manifested an anatomical adaptation. The young cuckoo has a depression in the back between the wings. This enables it to cup eggs which it is pushing from the nest which disappears after 12 days of life. To support his hypothesis, he conducted many experiments and observations. He removed young cuckoos from nests, placed another two in the nest and restored ejected eggs.

Jenner : Fossil Huntsman

Ever since during his childhood, Jenner's interest in fossils began to pop up and lasted throughout his life. At the base of Stinchcombe Hill in 1819, Jenner made an astonishing finding. The fossilized remains of the sea monster today we call by the name Plesiosaur.

Awards and Grants:

1788- Edward Jenner was elected fellow of the Royal Society for his careful study on the life of nested cuckoo.

1789- He was awarded Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine for his contribution towards major advances in human health.

In 1802, He was Awarded Honorary Member of Guy's Hospital Physical Society and Naval Medical Officers Award for saving many lives during the Napoleonic War.

In 1803, he was granted the Freedom of the City Award.

Edward Jenner died of apoplexy at the age of 73 on January 26th 1823 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England


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