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Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Smallpox Vaccine Down Select Process Report Summary
OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ACQUISITION TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS WASHINGTON DC
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In the 17th century, physicians in China blew powdered smallpox scabs into sinuses and prepared pills made from the fleas of cows. In India, physicians applied scabs to the scarified skin of the healthy. This technique migrated westward to Turkey where it was discovered by western physicians. Other early attempts to control smallpox included inoculation with material from smallpox lesions. This practice was known as variolation. In 1796, Edward Jenner noted that milkmaids were free of the facial scars that marked most of the population of that time. The observation that they cannot take smallpox was attributed to the localized pox lesions that they developed in their hands. Jenner reasoned that infectious material from cowpox caused by the vaccinia virus lesions provided protection from smallpox caused by the variola virus. He used it to vaccinate an 8-year-old boy. The boy later resisted infection, demonstrating the efficacy of the first vaccine.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE