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Drawing of French chemist Louis Pasteur & rabbits

Drawing of French chemist Louis Pasteur & rabbits

H416/0170

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Louis Pasteur. Illustration of Louis Pasteur (1822-95), French discoverer of the rabies vaccine, holding rabbits as if they were pets. Pasteur used rabbits during his rabies vaccine research. In 1880 he began injecting rabies- infected nerve tissue into rabbits' brains. By injecting the same virus into a series of animals he produced a 'fixed' virus. This strain had a shorter incubation period compared to the 'wild' virus. By removing and drying their spinal cords after they died from an injection of the 'fixed' virus, he 'attenuated' the virus, reducing its virulence. This virus was used to make a vaccine first used in July 1885. Image drawn in 1887.

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