You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.
2. The History of Smallpox
About this Lecture
In this module, we look at the history of smallpox, focusing in particular on: (i) the origin and evolution of the variola major virus; (ii) why humans in the Americas were so much more susceptible than Europeans to the smallpox virus; (iii) the ancient history of smallpox, including its potential links to Rameses V, the Athenian Plague, and the medical writings of the Persian physician Al Razi; (iv) the severe impact of smallpox upon the Native American populations of South America; and (v) the harm that smallpox caused in a number of Europe’s monarchies.
In this course, Dr Robert Gaynes (Emory University) looks at smallpox and Edward Jenner’s development of the smallpox vaccine. In the first module, we focus on the disease smallpox, its origin and its symptomatic progression. In the second module, we look at the history of smallpox, focusing in particular on its impact on South America and the leading figures of Europe. In the third module, we then turn to consider the early influences of Edward Jenner, taking a closer look at the first methods of treating smallpox and how Jenner’s vaccine emerged as a more successful alternative. In the fourth module, we look how Jenner came to discover that cowpox provided immunity against smallpox, before in the fifth module considering the reception of the smallpox vaccine in England and abroad. In the sixth and final module, we look at the impact that the smallpox vaccine has had, especially with regard to the eradication of smallpox.
Dr Robert Gaynes is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Emory University. He is an infectious disease specialist, and in 2011 published Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Diseases which was selected as one of Choice magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012.
Cite this Lecture
Gaynes, R. (2022, September 26). Medicine Through Time - Jenner and the Smallpox Vaccine, 1749-1823 - The History of Smallpox [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/medicine-through-time-jenner-and-the-smallpox-vaccine-1749-1823/the-history-of-smallpox
Gaynes, R. "Medicine Through Time - Jenner and the Smallpox Vaccine, 1749-1823 – The History of Smallpox." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/medicine-through-time-jenner-and-the-smallpox-vaccine-1749-1823/the-history-of-smallpox