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  • You just had to look at a smallpox sufferer

  • to be horrified.

  • It was very much a lottery ticket,

  • which most people didn't want to buy.

  • The eradication of smallpox is one of the most

  • significant events in the 20th Century.

  • For me it would be up there with the moon landing.

  • You certainly couldn't miss a patient who had got smallpox.

  • You had these blisters, these lesions all over your skin.

  • All these pustules were filled with virus.

  • India, as in the Mughal Empire,

  • understood the value of variolation

  • because it saw smallpox as a threat to military power.

  • But the problem was that it was as risky as it sounds -

  • you're basically trying to stop a deadly disease by giving somebody

  • a mild case of the same deadly disease.

  • Variolation could lead to uncontrolled epidemics.

  • People knew that this was something

  • that their children would catch

  • and they might survive or they might die from it

  • and so it was part of the cycle of life.

  • When Jenner inoculated the arm of James Phipps,

  • a young boy of eight,

  • with the contents of a cowpox bled from a dairy maid,

  • it became possible for the first time to protect human beings artificially

  • against pathogenic organisms.

  • This really tipped the table in favour of prevention and eradication.

  • To people in the 1700s, this was totally mind-blowing.

  • Jenner's idea was a game changer.

  • What happens in 1948 after the Second World War,

  • the horrors of the Second World War,

  • is that the world agrees that a new world order was needed.

  • What a crazy idea it would be to say that you're going to institute

  • vaccination throughout the entire world.

  • The 11th World Health Assembly

  • approved a resolution in 1958 calling for worldwide smallpox eradication.

  • The WHO galvanised enthusiasm, they standardised the vaccine,

  • obtained the resources that they needed internationally.

  • They really deserve tremendous credit for that.

  • People running the programme

  • were going from door to door with pictures

  • of a child with smallpox and asking people in the community

  • if they knew anyone who had this disease.

  • You're tracking, testing, isolating.

  • It's a strategy which many people have said

  • will be the only way we can keep on top of Covid-19.

  • May, 1980.

  • Two men affix their signatures to an historic document.

  • National and local health workers played an immense role

  • in the eradication of smallpox,

  • whether it's in Africa or in Asia -

  • often selflessly, because a disease like smallpox was

  • as threatening to them as Covid-19 is to today's health workers.

  • It's interesting that we're often so eager to commemorate success in wars,

  • but that much less is done to celebrate success

  • in the control of disease.

  • The eradication of smallpox is one of the most

  • significant events in the 20th Century.

  • For me it would be up there with the moon landing.

  • We've eradicated smallpox.

  • And because we've eradicated smallpox

  • we know that we can eradicate other human diseases.

  • If we all work together to tackle the disease,

  • to stop it spreading, to protect ourselves,

  • there is no reason why we can't stop another pandemic

  • like we stopped smallpox.

You just had to look at a smallpox sufferer

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人類が駆逐した殺人病の物語|BBCアイデア (The story of the killer disease humanity eradicated | BBC Ideas)

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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