Edward Jenner

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Jenner, Edward,

1749–1823, English physician; pupil of John Hunter. His invaluable experiments beginning in 1796 with the vaccination of eight-year-old James Phipps proved that cowpox provided immunity against smallpox. His discovery was instrumental in ridding many areas of the world of a dread disease and laid the foundations of modern immunology as a science.


See W. R. Le Fanu, A Bio-bibliography of Edward Jenner, 1749–1823 (1951).

Jenner, Edward


Born May 17, 1749, in Berkeley; died there Jan. 26, 1823. English physician; discoverer of the smallpox vaccine.

Jenner studied medicine in London, and in 1773 he began an independent medical practice. He observed that milkmaids that had recovered from cowpox were not susceptible to smallpox. On May 14, 1769, he inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps with cowpox, and 1½ months later, with human smallpox; the boy did not become ill. Repeating on Phipps these inoculations over several months and years, Jenner demonstrated the possibility and high effectiveness of vaccinations against smallpox. A smallpox vaccination institute (the Royal Jennerian Society) was founded in London in 1803. Jenner was its first and lifetime director. He was also an honorary member of many academies, universities, and scientific societies of Western European countries.


An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a Disease Discovered in Some of the Western Countries of England, Particularly Gloucestershire, and Known by the Name of the Cow Pox. London, 1798.
Further Observations on the Variolae Vaccinae or Cow Pox. London, 1799.
In Russian translation:In Gubert, V. O. Ospa i ospoprivivanie, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1896. Chapter 14.


Gubert, V. O. EduardDzhenneri egootkrytie. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Karlik, L. N. “Eduard Dzhenner (k 150-letiiu so dnia otkrytiia ospoprivivamia).” Pediatriia, 1946, no. 4.
References in periodicals archive ?
In May 1796, Edward Jenner found a young dairymaid, Sarah Nelms, who had fresh cowpox lesions on her hands and arms (Figure 3).
Orphaned at age five, a school dropout and an indolent procrastinator, Edward Jenner rose by his own ability to become one of our greatest scientists.
Now an exhibition called Edward Jenner - local doctor, universal hero has gone on the road in Gloucestershire to highlight the importance of his life to the world.
Putting a modern spin on the work of English physician Edward Jenner, who used cowpox virus 200 years ago to vaccinate people against smallpox, Kapikian and his colleagues at NIAID employed a weakened rotavirus strain that infects these monkeys.
The first, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, occurred when Edward Jenner demonstrated that inoculations with the cowpox virus protect humans from the ravages of smallpox.
The Year of the Vaccine, 1996, marks the bicentenary of the discovery of vaccination by Edward Jenner.
In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner noticed that dairymaids who caught cowpox -- a similar disease found in cows -- did not develop the more disfiguring, deadly smallpox.
However, the medical profession didn't take her seriously, and Edward Jenner is accredited with discovering the principle of vaccination against smallpox, 70 years later.
Vaccine design has come a long way since 1796, when Edward Jenner discovered he could prevent smallpox infection in people by inoculating them with the less virulent but related organism that causes cowpox.
When Edward Jenner started it all in 1796 he injected a child with the cowpox virus as a means of protecting him or her against smallpox.
Even Dr Watson, the slightly mysterious sidekick to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, is more identifiable than Edward Jenner or even Sir Alexander Fleming.