Google Doodle honors Rudolf Weigl typhus vaccine inventor
he 138th birthday of Rudolf Weigl,
a Polish scientist, and developer of the epidemic typhus vaccine, is commemorated in today’s Google Doodle.
Rudolf Weigl’s Life
Rudolf Weigl was born on September 2, 1883, in Austria-Hungary, making today his 138th birthday.
Weigl’s father died in a bicycle accident while he was young, and his mother remarried and relocated the family to Lviv, which was then part of Poland.
Weigl earned doctorates in comparative anatomy, histology, and zoology after graduating from Lwów University with a degree in biology in 1907.
Rudolf Weigl recruitment into the Austro-Hungarian army in 1914
soon after the outbreak of World War I, and worked as a parasitologist. Weigl started his research on epidemic
typhus at this period, a disease that usually flared up during times of war and civil upheaval, much as the globe was experiencing at the time.
Typhus had already ravaged Poland, and the war only made matters worse by spreading the disease to neighboring nations.
Weigl concentrated his attention on the lice since
it had previously been established that lice were the main disease vector for this especially deadly strain of typhus.
Weigl was able to create an effective vaccination for this kind of typhus by inventing a method to deliberately cultivate and adapt lice.
In 1936, a patient received the first dosage of the epidemic typhus vaccine.
While the vaccination did not prevent infection, it did make the disease’s symptoms far less severe and therefore less fatal.
During Germany’s annexation of Poland during WWII, the Nazi government forced
Rudolf Weigl dramatically
boost vaccine manufacturing at the newly established Institute for Typhus and Virus Research.
Weigl needed to recruit approximately 1000 individuals to do this and in order to fight the Nazis in his own way,
he hired people he knew were in danger of persecution.
Vaccines from the institution were trafficker into high-risk areas like concentration camps.
After a long and illustrious career in medicine, Weigl finally resigned in 1951. On August 11, 1957, he died six years later.
Google Doodle for Rudolf Weigl