Angela Desmond, Paul A. Offitn. On the Shoulders of Giants — From Jenner’s Cowpox to mRNA Covid Vaccines. N Engl J Med 2021; 384:1081-1083
The first major vaccine-related advance occurred in 1796, when Edward Jenner, a physician working in southern England, found that an animal virus (cowpox) could protect against disease caused by a human virus (smallpox) … Jenner’s work ultimately led to the eradication of a disease that is estimated to have killed more than 300 million people in the 20th century.
The second breakthrough occurred nearly a century after the first. In 1885, Louis Pasteur found that the spinal cords of rabbits that had been experimentally inoculated with rabies virus were no longer infectious after 15 days of desiccation.
During the 20th century, notable successes that relied on the killed-virus strategy included an influenza vaccine developed by Thomas Francis in the early 1940s, a polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk in the mid-1950s (Salk had trained in Francis’s laboratory at the University of Michigan), and a hepatitis A vaccine developed by Philip Provost and Maurice Hilleman in 1991.
Now, the world faces its most devastating pandemic since 1918, when influenza virus killed about 50 million people.
New England Journal of Medicine, 25 marca 2021