Jenner, cowpox, smallpox, and the first vaccine

Dr. Richard Alexander ralexand at
Fri Sep 15 09:00:26 EST 1995

In article <439mlu$1l9 at>,
Ken Frauwirth (BioKen) <frauwirt at notmendel.Berkeley.EDU> wrote:

>Horrible crimes, one and all.  Let's not belittle the accomplishments of the
>man simply because he was fortunate enough to have the right tools for the job.
>How many of us involved in research today would rather be uneducated, poor, and
>in a setting that does *not* support our research?  The notoriety afforded to
>Jenner put humanity on the way to eliminating one of the great scourges - I
>find it difficult to feel bad about it.

Jenner was greatly encouraged in his effort by John Hunter, an unlettered 
Scot who definitely overcame adversity and the overshadowing by his well 
known physician brother to become one of the greatest anatomists and 
surgeons of all time. John Kobler, in his biography of Hunter, 
describes an interaction where Jenner tells Hunter of his idea and says 
he has been "thinking about vaccinating people with cowpox" and Hunter 
tells Jenner "Don't think about it, do it". Rather the Nike approach to 
investigation.  Hunter lived (and died) true to his belief--in an attempt 
to better understand the nature of venereal disease Hunter injected 
himself with the urethral secretions of an infected patient which 
ultimately killed him. 
Richard B. Alexander                     ralexander at
                                            ralexand at

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