On 15 July we were delighted to host this fascinating event exploring the historical and modern-day development of vaccination comparing the first and only human disease eradicated by vaccination, smallpox, and today’s global challenge, COVID-19.
You can now catch up with the full event below.
About the event
Learn about ‘A Pox In All Our Houses: Discovering the origin and evolution of smallpox vaccine’ the fascinating ongoing research project with Dr Ana Duggan, adjunct assistant professor at McMaster University, and Anna Dhody, curator of the Mütter Museum. Using the latest scientific techniques, this project is sampling historic items associated with smallpox vaccination to answer questions about the variety of viruses used for vaccination purposes across the globe during the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the items sampled is a set of blades from the RCP collection that is likely to have belonged to Edward Jenner (1749–1823), the doctor who greatly advanced the development of smallpox inoculation.
In comparison you will also hear from Dr Gregory Poland director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, about how todays COVID-19 vaccines are being developed to tackle a modern, pandemic disease.
The event includes an introduction to the RCP Museum’s current exhibition ‘RCP Unseen’ and after the talks there was a discussion panel with our knowledgeable speakers.
Watch the event
RCP Unseen reveals hidden and rarely seen items from the archives, library and museum collections of the Royal College of Physicians. Discover how our historical objects are being used by scientists and researchers today to learn more about disease and medical practice. Learn how a 500-year-old collection continues to grow today, and discover some of the surprising items that you would never expect a physician to own!
The research project ‘A Pox In All Our Houses: Discovering the origin and evolution of smallpox vaccine’ features in our online exhibition RCP Unseen as a fascinating object from our collections has been part of the research. We own a set of blades thought to have belonged to Edward Jenner (1749–1823), the doctor who greatly advanced the development of the smallpox inoculation. These blades were sampled as they may have been used to vaccinate people against smallpox.
Gail Chapman, public programmes officer