The Watering Hole: May 14 – Young Talent

We too often associate talented young folks as actors, but here is an example where a HS student may have made significant progress in medicine which may well bear fruit in the very near future towards a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. At the very least, this could alleviate some of the suffering from this disease.

This young man relied on a super-computer to assist in his research. The key issue is that he had decided that he would direct his research along a direct path to test out his own theories. He performed the biology work himself.

Now over to my intended post:

Today happens to be the date (in 1796) when Edward Jenner started tests on a smallpox vaccine developed on the observation that milkmaids were less likely to contact the disease. He guessed, correctly, that the agent causing the disease was related to a disease in cattle – cowpox and demonstrated that immunity to smallpox could be developed by contact to the pox suffered by cattle. This immunity was conferred without suffering anything beyond a mild rash. He was in effect using a weakened version of the virus.

Up to that point in time, immunity to smallpox was conferred by applying the pus from the scabs of smallpox victims to a small wound in the skin. This was in effect a vaccine, but the pus had to be harvested after the donor’s immune system had weakened the virus (Yuk! – 😯 ).

Jenner’s method led to the virtual World wide extinction of the smallpox virus in recent times.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Update: Fixed paragraph ordering.