(May 17, 1749 – January 26, 1823)

Famous for his outstanding experiments on smallpox, Edward Jenner’s inferences helped in combating the disease whose outbreaks killed many people in the 18th century. Although he is called “The Father of Immunology”, my research findings indicated that the ancient Chinese and Indian physicians developed similar immunological techniques long before Jenner was born. Notwithstanding, the man deserves credit for independently expatiating on it. By doing so, he readied the paths which enabled subsequent researchers (such as Robert Koch), to conclude the Germ Theory of Disease in the 19th century. Despite the crudeness of his vaccine experiments, Edward Jenner succeeded in lowering the mortality rates of smallpox in such a way that brought him fame and adulations. The British parliament was so impressed that it supported his research efforts with an initial £10,000 grant in 1802, followed by another £20,000 allotment in 1806. These were huge amounts in those days, and served to underline the importance of such life-saving discoveries. In the same vein, King George IV (the then King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) appointed him his personal “physician extraordinary” in 1821. Jenner also collaborated with his clinical mentors and contemporaries, (such as John Hunter and William Osler) in other lesser known works, which ranged from Hygiene to Natural History. His observatory ornithology, (especially of cuckoos), were instrumental in understanding the tricks and tact of brood parasitism. And like his fellow Brit, James Clerk Maxwell, Edward Jenner was a devout Christian who enjoyed quoting biblical verses whenever the occasion demanded.


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