Edward Jenner: The World Of Microbiology

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Essay 1: An important discovery/concept in microbiology

The world of microbiology is a vast one. In theory, microbiology is the study of single celled micro organisms and viruses, that work independently of each other. These microbial cells are the backbone and fundamental unit of life. Most of the biomass present on earth today is microbial, with almost 5.3x10^30 cells present, mostly in terrestrial and oceanic subsurfaces. Within these subsurfaces, many microbial communities exist, with especially specific types of bacteria having important niches in their community. Take for example, the branch of oxygenating bacteria known as cyanobacteria which work in aerobic ecosystems. Such bacteria produce oxygen gas, and are the micro organisms
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From an early age, Jenner had a strong passion within himself for science and nature that remained with him all his life. At the age of 13, Jenner started his first apprenticeship as a country surgeon, where he acquired a sound knowledge for medical and surgical practice. However it wasn't until 1796 when Jenner began to make huge strides towards totally eradicating the smallpox endemic, when he observed that milkmaids who had been exposed and gotten cowpox, did not contract smallpox after the variolation procedure . Because of this, Jenner hypothesised that the cowpox disease not only acted as a form of protection against smallpox, but could also be inoculated purposely from one person to another as a method of protection against the smallpox. His first experiment in attempting to prove this hypothesis was involving a young dairy maid named Sarah Nelms, and the son of his gardener, 8 year old James Phipps. Dr Jenner preceded to take material from lesions of cowpox on the hands and arms of the young milk maid, and inoculated this material into the arm of James Phipps using a lancet. Straight away, the 8 year old boy became feverish and developed a discomfort, and after nine days he lost his appetite and felt cold. However it was the tenth day that was most rewarding for Jenner, as the boy felt better and healthy again with no symptoms of the disease. Throughout the following year, Dr Jenner inoculated James Phipps countless other times but with material from fresh smallpox sores, with the boy showing no signs or symptoms of developing the disease on any of these occasions, proving his hypothesis that the exposure to cowpox acts as an immunity against smallpox. This milestone in this discovery and work done by Jenner paved the way for more people to further investigate the science behind how vaccines work, such as Louis

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