Section A, Question d. Disease and Infection



KEY FACTORS: Role of key individuals, Development of Science and Technology, Impact of Chance, Fast medical change that has been encouraged by War

  • KEY INDIVIDUALS -Discovery of the Germ Theory (Louis Pasteur) - following work from the french brewing industry. 
  • Understanding of microbes - Cause of disease instead of SUPERNATURAL. 
  • Led to development in vaccinations against rabies and developments in the fight against cholera.
  • Pasteur findings ENHANCED by Robert Koch.
  • Robert Koch: connection between germs and decay, linking specific germs to a particular disease
  • Discovered the germ that caused septicemia
  • Worked hard to develop vaccine for TB
  • PAUL EHRLICH - studied how the human body produced antibodies.
  • Able to identify the syphillis microbe 
  • Developed the 'Magic Bullet' - one of the very first man made antibodies.
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  • CHANCE- Edward Jenner - cow pox could be used to create a vaccination against smallpox.
  • Country doctor, saw milkmaids who suffered from cowpox did not develop smallpox.
  • Vaccine=safer than innoculation
  • Couldn't explain why vaccine worked but was still backed by the government. 
  • Alexander Fleming- went to clean dirty culture dishes, noticed a penicillin mould spore.
  • The germ he was testing had stopped growing as a result.
  • Did not act immediately.
  • Wrote an article that later inspired Florey and Chain.
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  • WAR
  • Florey and Chain- Recieved funding from USA government to develop a way of mass producing penicillin, so it could be used to treat wounded soldiers during WW2
  • Without funding= no mass production of this powerful anitbiotic. 
  • Pasteur+Koch - affected in negative way.
  • Consequence of Franco Prussian war, became national rivals- made discoveries as fast as they could to increase national pride.
  • Koch- rushed development of TB vaccine lead to errors. 
  • Stopped them from collaborating.
  • They would have made faster progress if they had worked together
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  • Discovery of microbes was made possible by increasing the power of the microscope in 19th century.
  • Enhanced by Koch when he connected a lens camera to his microscope- could capture images of different germs. 
  • Koch used newly developed chemical dyes. 
  • Helped him identify different microbes more easily- helped him to prove he had isolated the right germs for the right disease. 
  • Pasteur- dveloped swan neck flask to help trap organisms in search for microbes.
  • Important in helping him to show thorough public experiments, that microbes did not spontaneously generate.
  • Most recently: Understanding of human stem cells allowed sceintists to harvest cells and use them to treat patients with life-threatening diseases or paralysis. 
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