UCL News


The last word on history of smallpox

17 August 2005

Sir Henry Wellcome, founder of the well-known pharma company in the UK, donated a huge personal fortune for bio-medical education.

He willed that a percentage of it should go for the study and promotion of the history of medical education. His rich collection of operating instruments and old manuscripts of medical writings are today preserved in the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine in London.

More than this library, the Wellcome Trust Centre has sponsored a series of 11 monographs and other writings by top scholars. … By 2007, there will be 20. The latest in the series is titled 'Fractured States: Smallpox, Public Health and Vaccination Policy in British India, 1800-1947' published by Orient Longman.

Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya [Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL], who is the primary author of this monograph, says manufacturing vaccine against smallpox and administering it was no mean task till the 1930s. Pox removed with a scalpel from a buffalo was administered under a flap made in the skin after making three deep cuts in each arm.

S Nagesh Kumar, 'The Hindu'