9 Disease prevention vaccines that changed humanity forever

Vaccines work against diseases by equipping the immune system with antibodies before any potential contact with the infectious agents. While all diseases are spread differently, vaccines offer robust protection against fatal symptoms and death.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, discussions about vaccine research and development have been launched in the public space. While naysayers would have you believe that vaccines are an evil capitalist conspiracy, countless human lives have been saved since the first vaccine against infectious diseases was developed in 1896 to prevent the deadly smallpox virus.

In this list, we refer to 9 fatal diseases that were brought under control using effective vaccines:


The English physician Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had recovered from cows, a relatively milder disease, were protected from smallpox. To this end, he decided to create an antibody formula against the then dangerous smallpox in 1796.

Smallpox has now been eradicated, and Jenner’s cannon creation in the form of a vaccine has saved approximately 530 million lives.

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Caused by a dog bite or a bat bite, rabies is a viral infection of the brain that also inflames it and causes impaired function in the spinal cord. It is pretty much always fatal after reaching this stage.

The rabies vaccine was developed in 1885 by Louis Pasteur, who administered the first dose himself.

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Tetanus is caused by bacteria that invade the body and produce toxins to cause muscle contractions. Also known as lockjaw, the disease causes the jaw and neck muscles of the infected person to lock, making it almost impossible to open the mouth and swallow anything.

The first tetanus vaccine was developed by a team of German researchers led by Emil von Behring in 1890. In 1924, the first tetanus toxoid was discovered and produced.


A bacterial infection, typhoid causes high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Usually passed through infected food and water, the infection can sometimes be fatal.

The typhoid vaccine was developed by British pathologist Amroth Wright in 1896.


Whooping cough

A highly contagious respiratory infection, kinky causes are indicated by an intense cough followed by a wheezing breath that sounds like “whoop”. First available as a licensed vaccine in 1914, the combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and giant cough was rolled out in 1948.

Before the vaccine was made by Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering, 6,000 children died each year from whooping cough.


Considered a common viral infection, influenza is largely seasonal and can be fatal among risk groups similar to Covid-19. It attacks the lungs, throat and nose with symptoms ranging from fever, chills, cough to headache.

In partnership with the U.S. Army, Thomas Francis, Jr. and Jonas Salk the first inactivated influenza vaccine in the 1940s.

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Briefly for Poliomyelitis, polio is an infectious disease caused by poliovirus. It can cause paralysis and spread through dirty food and water and from infected people. The first polio vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955.

Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral polio vaccine that helped save millions of lives around the world.


Chickenpox caused by varicella-zoster virus causes itchy rash with blisters. A highly contagious disease, it can easily spread to the unvaccinated or those who have not caught the disease.

The chickenpox vaccine was developed by Michiaki Takahashi. In 1988, the vaccine was licensed for general use in Japan and Korea. The United States licensed the same vaccine in 1995.



The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic saw pharmaceutical companies rush to set up a vaccine. Currently, 5-6 vaccines are being administered around the world to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The first vaccine against Covid-19 was developed in Russia and called Sputnik V. It was created by the Moscow Gamaleya Research Institute in collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Pfizer-Biontech was the first mRNA vaccine in the world where the immune system is taught by the vaccine to create antibodies against the virus.

Did you know that vaccines have saved so many lives over the last two centuries? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to get vaccinated against Covid-19. For more on the latest events from the world of science and technology, keep reading Indiatimes.com.


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