Medical Dialogues

Top 10 Vaccines that changed the Health of the World

With the entire world slowly going through the immunization process with the corona virus vaccine is looking back at the top 10 important vaccine developments that changed the health of this world

SMALLPOX vaccine

The smallpox vaccine was introduced by Edward Jenner in May 1796 by testing the hypothesis that the infection with cowpox could protect the person from smallpox infection.

RABIES vaccine

In 1880, a Parisian veterinarian sent Louis Pasteur samples from two dogs that had died of rabies. Pasteur continued to work with rabies over the next several years until 1885, when he successfully applied a post-exposure vaccination to a nine-year old boy, Joseph Meister.

CHOLERA vaccine

In 1884, Spanish bacteriologist Jaume Ferran I Clua (University of Barcelona) was the first to develop a live cholera vaccine that he had isolated from patients in Marseilles. Research on cholera in the mid-19th century was also led by English medical experts John snow, Thomas M. Greenhow, and Edward H. Greenhow.

TYPHOID vaccine

British bacteriologist Almroth Edward Wright and German physicians Richard Pfeiffer and Wilhelm Kolle resulted in the development of an effective typhoid vaccine in 1896.. Due to the side effects of the earlier version of the vaccine, newer formulations created by Wright-Pfeiffer and Kolle are recommended by WHO.


At the turn of 20th Century, Shibasaburo Kitasato and Emil von Behring announced the discovery of diphtheria antitoxin serum. Their work was awarded the 1901 Nobel Prize in Medicine. The DPT (Diphtheria) vaccine is administered as a class of combination vaccines against three infectious diseases- diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus (lockjaw).

TUBERCULOSIS- Mycobacterium tuberculosis Vaccine

Development of the vaccine was started by French bacteriologist Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin who named the product Bacillius Calmette-Guerin, or BCG vaccine, which is administered shortly after birth only in infants at high risk of tuberculosis, was first used medically in 1921, and it continues to be on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines


Tetanus, synonymous with ‘lockjaw’, is an acute and potentially fatal disease caused by the bacteria, Clostridium tetani, which was first identified in 1884 by Italian scientist at the University of Turin, Antonio Carle and Giorgio Rattone. Tetanus toxoid was first produced in 1924 by a group of German scientists who were at the University of Marburg at that time including Hans Horst Meyer and Emil von Behring (1901 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine), and came into extensive use during World War II.

YELLOW FEVER Flaviviridae Vaccine

Max Theiler (Rockefeller Foundation; 1951 Nobel Prize) developed the effective 17D strain of the yellow fever vaccine in 1937 that continues to remain in use today.

MEASLES vaccine

The breakthrough for measles came when Thomas pebbles (with John Enders at children's hospital, Boston) isolated the virus responsible for measles which they used to create a series of vaccines. In 1968, and improved measles vaccine, developed by Maurice Hilleman (Merck & Co.) and David Morley (University of London), began to be distributed.

POLIOMYELITIS- oral polio vaccine (OPV)

An inactivated (killed) audio vaccine (IPV) was developed by Jonas Salk (University of Pittsburgh) and find first administered in 1955. A live attenuated oral polio vaccine (OPV) voice developed by Albert Sabin (NYU), and first used in 1961.