Vladimir Khavkin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Khavkin, Vladimir Aaronovich


(also Waldemar Haff-kine). Born Mar. 15, 1860, in Odessa; died Oct. 26, 1930, in Lausanne. Russian bacteriologist and epidemiologist. Student of E. Metchnikoff.

Upon graduation from Novorossiia University in Odessa in 1884, Khavkin worked at the Odessa Zoological Museum. In 1888 he became assistant professor at the University of Geneva; he held a similar position at the Pasteur Institute in Paris from 1889 to 1893. From 1893 to 1915 he worked in India, serving as a bacteriologist for the government from 1893 to 1904. Khavkin helped organize the Plague Research Laboratory in Bombay, and served as its director from 1896 to 1904. The laboratory, which was reorganized and renamed the Haffkine Institute in 1925, became a center for the study of bubonic plague and cholera in Southeast Asia.

Khavkin’s principal works dealt with cholera and plague. He revealed the infectious nature of cholera and was the first to develop effective vaccines against cholera (1892) and plague (1896). He tested the vaccines on himself to prove their safety. Khavkin was directly involved in the vaccination of the Indian population during the cholera epidemic of 1893–95 and the plague epidemic of 1896–1902. On the 60th anniversary of Khavkin’s anti-plague laboratory, the Indian president R. Prasad remarked that “we in India are greatly indebted to Doctor Khavkin. He helped India rid itself of its principal epidemics—plague and cholera.”


Popovskii, M. A. Sud’ba doktora Khavkina. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.