First Rabies Vaccine Administered 130 Years Ago Today

First Rabies Vaccine Administered 130 Years Ago Today
Louis Pasteur, 1885

Today marks 130 years since the rabies vaccine was first administered by Louis Pasteur to a human being, a nine-year-old boy who had been bitten in 14 places by an infected dog. His mother brought him to Dr. Pasteur, who had never tested his vaccine on humans but was moved by the woman's anguish over her son's condition. The boy was injected with material from the spinal cord of a rabbit who had died from rabies; over the next three weeks, his condition improved and he recovered. Later that fall, France's Academy of Sciences acknowledged the success of the rabies vaccine and soon hundreds were lining up for the immunization after infection from dogs. The boy grew up to work as a janitor at the Pasteur Institute but committed suicide in 1940.

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