Edward Jenner is a giant of modern medicine. Throughout history, smallpox had plagued humanity with disfigurement, blindness and death. It was an incurable blight, the suffering of which Jenner helped to end.
Surmising from the immunity of milkmaids that cowpox might be some defence against the ravages of smallpox, in 1793 he took some of the matter from a human case of cowpox and inserted it into the arm of a young boy. To test this, the first human-to-human vaccination, he subsequently inoculated the boy with smallpox itself, and found him to be immune from the disease. In 1979 smallpox was declared extinct.
In this concise biography, Rob Boddice tells the story of Jenner’s life, his medical vision and his profound legacy. It is a story that encompasses revolutions in medical experimentation, public health provision and the prevention of other diseases, from anthrax to measles, but above all it highlights the profound impact that Jenner’s vision has had upon humanity’s battle against disease.