Science: Imune History

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    Imune History

  • Bacteria and Micro-organisms

    Bacteria and micro-organisms were observed for the first time under a microscope by Antonie Van Leeuwenhock. Originally referred to as ‘animalculus’, it was the start of the science of microbiology.
  • Constantinople

    While in Constantinople, Turkey, Lady Mary Wortley witnessed local healers expose individuals to the fluid of a smallpox blister. Referred to as innoculation, she observed the positive effect it had on protecting the native population from the effects of the disease. On her return to England her promotion of the procedure was met with resistance due to her being female and the procedure being seen as ‘Oriental’.
  • Edward Jenner

    Edward Jenner conducted the first demonstration of the smallpox vaccine. Using material from sufferers of the cowpox disease, he innoculated patients and found that they become resistant to smallpox. He utilised a similar method to that promoted by Lady Mary Wortley, yet used a weaker strain of the disease. It was the first demonstration of cross immunity.
  • Ernest Haeckel

    The documented observation of phagocytosis by phagocytes was written by Ernest Haeckel. His studies were in relation to establishing and maintaining organism ‘harmony’ rather than a part of host defence.
  • Antiseptics

    Joseph Lister provided the effective use of antiseptics in the treatment of wounds during war time. Building on the work of Louis Pasteur, Lister developed and tested the use of antiseptics (in the form of carbolic acid solution). The solution, when wiped on the wounds of patients, greatly reduced infections and cases of gangrene. He later ensured that hands and instruments were also washed in the solution before surgery.
  • Robert Koch

    Robert Koch showed for the first time that microbes can cause disease. He demonstrated the transfer of anthrax bacillus between cows.
  • Germ Thoery of Disease

    Though hinted at and theorised for some time by a number of scientists, Louis Pasteur confirmed the ‘Germ Theory of disease’. Through a series of experiments that soundly supported the claim, he was able to convince most of Europe of the discovery.
  • Therapuetic Vaccination

    The concept of a therapeutic vaccination using a weakened artificially-generated form of the disease is introduced by Louis Pasteur. The term ‘vaccine’ was used in honour of the work conducted by Edward Jenner in the previous century. Pasteur developed vaccines for anthrax, rabies and chicken cholera.
  • Elie Metchnikoff

    Elie Metchnikoff developed the cellular theory of immunity via the observation of phagocytosis by macrophages and microphages. Metchnikoff saw this as being the immune response in its entirety.
    Later it was established that the phagocytes were the second line of defence against infection in the immune response.
  • Relationship between microbe and disease

    Designed to establish the relationship between a microbe and a disease, the Koch postulates are developed by Robert Koch and Friedrich Loeffler. These postulates consisted of four criteria that enabled scientists to identify pathogens in the 19th century. Modern technology has rendered them unnecessary today.
  • Demonstration of antibody

    Emil von Behring and Katisato Shibasaburo demonstrated antibody activity by observing the production of chemicals in the blood of animals, that neutralised the toxins produced by a weakened dose of bacteria which they injected into the subject.
  • Antibody formation theory

    Paul Ehrich created the antibody formation theory. He proposed that cells, when exposed to a threat, produce side chains, which break off and circulate in the bloodstream and attach to toxic products released by the threat. He saw this as a specific response rather then the general seek and destroy nature of phagocytosis.
  • discovery of needed antibodies

    Jules Bordet discovered that antibodies need to recruit special allies in order to destroy specific bacteria.
  • Neils Jerne proposed a theory

    Neils Jerne proposed the theory that when a person is born they have all the antibodies they will ever need. When exposed to a new invader, the body looks through its collection of antibodies and deploys an appropriate one for the task.