Michiaki Takahashi Chickenpox Vaccine Discovery was a big milestone in vaccine history. On his 94th Birthday, Google Doodle paid a rich tribute to well known virologist and the developer of First Chicken Pox.
Since its invention, Takahashi’s vaccine has been administered to millions of children around the world as an effective measure to prevent severe cases of the contagious viral disease and its transmission.
Michiaki Takahashi born born in 1928 in Osaka, Japan, earned his medical degree from Osaka University and joined the Research Institute for Microbial Disease, Osaka University in 1959. After studying measles and polio viruses, Dr Takahashi accepted a research fellowship in 1963 at Baylor College in the United States. During this time, his son developed chickenpox, which made him turn his expertise into combating the highly transmissible disease.
In 1963, Takahashi’s young son got very sick. The young boy had a high fever, and waves of small red bumps – which eventually became blisters and then open sores – covered his body. He’d become one of millions of kids in the U.S. who (until 1995) got sick with chickenpox every year. And his dad, a doctor from Japan who had come to Texas on a research fellowship at Baylor University, decided to do something about it.
Michiaki Takahashi Chickenpox Vaccine Discovery Remembered Today by Google Doodle
Soon after returning to Japan in 1965, Takahashi started working on a vaccine that would save kids like his son from having to suffer through chickenpox. He started with a sample of Varicella zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox, from an infected child.
200 years ago, that would have been close to the end of the story. Throughout the 1800s, doctors who wanted to vaccinate their patients against smallpox simply collected pus and scabs from people infected with cowpox and horsepox – which don’t make people nearly as sick as their cousin, smallpox. They simply rubbed the virus-laden mess into cuts or scratches on the patient’s arm, which makes getting a shot, especially a shot of something that’s never been in another person’s body, sound like a walk in the park by comparison.