Google Doodle: Celebrating 138th birthday of Polish inventor Rudolf Stefan Weigl

Google Doodle

New Delhi: A Google doodle honouring Polish inventor, doctor, and immunologist Rudolf Weigl's 138th birthday was released today. He had developed the first-ever successful vaccination against epidemic typhus, one of the world's oldest and most infectious diseases.

The Google doodle depicts the Polish inventor with a test tube in his gloved hands, drawings of lice on the wall on one side and a human body on the other, and a test tube in his gloved hands. On a lab table, the illustrator has spelt out Google with a microscope, beakers on bunsen burners, and test tubes in holders.

On September 2, 1883, Rudolf Stefan Weigl was born in the Austro-Hungarian town of Przerow, which is now part of the Czech Republic. He went on to Lwow University in Poland to study biological sciences, and in 1914, he was employed as a parasitologist in the Polish Army. Mr. Weigl became motivated to stem the spread of typhus as it afflicted millions of people across Eastern Europe.

The typhus-infecting bacteria Rickettsia prowazekii was known to be carried by body lice, therefore the inventor turned the small bug into a laboratory specimen.

His groundbreaking research showed how to replicate the dangerous germs he has been researching for decades in the hopes of finding a vaccine. Rudolf Weigl's vaccine successfully infected the first recipient in 1936.

Mr. Weigl was compelled to construct a vaccine production plant after Germany conquered Poland at the onset of WWII. He took use of this opportunity to hire friends and colleagues who were facing persecution under the new regime.

Thousands of people were spared thanks to his direct efforts to safeguard his neighbours and the thousands of vaccination doses supplied worldwide during this time.

 

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