Edward Anthony Jenner: Scientist Who Discovered The Smallpox Vaccine
Edward Anthony Jenner is a famous British scientist who revolutionized medicine by discovering the vaccine for smallpox, which killed millions of people in history. Jenner, who devoted her whole life to the field of medicine, came across an interesting situation while using people living in rural areas as guinea pigs in her experiments.
First of all, he determined that people who came into contact with cowpox never got smallpox, and he decided to investigate this issue in depth. He published his findings at the end of the research and proved the reality of the smallpox vaccine by conducting trials on a few more patients.
Although there are scientists who do not believe in Edward Anthony Jenner’s invention, laugh and react, the success of vaccination has broken all these prejudices and in this journey that goes back to our age, there is no disease like smallpox in the world.
Who is Edward Anthony Jenner?
Edward Anthony Jenner was born on May 17, 1749 in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Berkeley, the son of a village priest. He is a famous English physician, surgeon and scientist, known for his vaccine against smallpox, one of the incurable diseases in history.
The Life of Edward Anthony Jenner
Edward Anthony Jenner was born in 1749. His father, who was a preacher at the church, died when he was only five years old. Jenner started her education life in England. He worked as an assistant to a surgeon named Daniel Ludlow in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, for eight years. Afterwards, in order to advance in the field of medicine, in 1770 St. George’s Hospital.
He started working as a student of the famous surgeon John Hunter during his London years. On the other hand, he took courses in surgery and anatomy from John Hunter and others. After successfully completing these trainings, Edward Anthony Jenner returned to his birthplace, Berkeley. He then established a medical practice that he would practice all his life. During these studies, Jenner and others established the medical community and thus published documents on angina disease.
Jenner was paralyzed on the right side at the age of 73. After struggling with paralysis for a while, Jenner never recovered and died on January 26, 1823, in Gloucestershire, England.
Discovery of Smallpox Vaccine
During Edward Anthony Jenner’s years of dealing with science, medicine was helpless against major and deadly diseases. Jenner thought that precautions should be taken before the spread of diseases, and as a result of an incident in her youth, she became interested in vaccination. The event developed as follows; Jenner has heard a girl say she can’t get smallpox. Because the girl stated that she has another disease called Cowpox. Thus, he decided to examine this issue in depth.
When Jenner began to study smallpox, she found that most of her patients were agriculturalists. That’s why he decided to work with the people dealing with cattle on farms. Before Jenner, a Dutch physiologist had also developed a cure for the deadly disease smallpox. Edward Anthony Jenner saw a smallpox epidemic in Gloucestershire in 1788 and first observed a cattle worker named Jamie.
He saw Jamie come into contact with a mild disease called cowpox. He noticed that patients who were previously immunized with this disease did not get smallpox. Afterwards, he wanted to prove and announce this theory. For this purpose, in 1796, he decided to perform his experiment on a patient named James Philipps, cut off both parts of the patient’s arm, and then worked on small cattle.
James Philipps developed a mild fever after a few days. However, he soon regained his health. Even after several weeks, the subject maintained a healthy appearance. As a result of these studies, Edward Anthony Jenner found the most effective vaccine against smallpox, which killed millions of people.
Before Jenner, a Dutch physiologist had also developed a cure for the deadly disease, smallpox. This treatment method was brought to England in 1721 under the leadership of Lady Mary Wortly Montague, the wife of the British Ambassador. When tested, it was seen that a healthy individual could draw the vein. On the other hand, the greatest misfortune of this method of treatment was that although a small amount of compressed smallpox microbe was injected, the microbe covered the person’s entire body and caused death.
Edward Anthony Jenner’s Academic Career
Edward Anthony Jenner received his MD in 1792 at St. Andrews University. Publishing all his findings in 1798, Jenner’s research topic was about the causes and effects of Variolae Vaccinae, a disease known as cowpox.
In 1805, “Freedom of the City” was presented to him by the Mayor of London for the discovery of Edward Anthony Jenner’s vaccination. Jenner was appointed as the personal physician of King George IV in 1821.
Although he was met with interest in Europe and the United States when he published a detailed report on this invention, the scientists of the time were skeptical of him. There were even those who laughed in the first place. But in the following periods, thousands of people were vaccinated and success was proven. The smallpox vaccine that Jenner found in 1870 even exceeded the borders of England and later created a domino effect all over the world.
In the years close to his death, he became interested in nature and studied wildlife and birds. Admiring nature, Edward Anthony Jenner submitted an article called “Observations of Bird Migration” to the Royal Society. In 1980, two hundred years after Edward Anthony Jenner discovered the smallpox vaccine, the World Health Organization declared that smallpox had been eradicated from the world.