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Google honors Rudolf Weigl, who invented epidemic typhus vaccine

UPI News
UPI News
 2021-09-02
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Google is paying homage to immunologist Rudolf Weigl, who made the first vaccine against epidemic typhus. Image courtesy of Google

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Google is celebrating doctor and immunologist Rudolf Weigl, who created the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus.

Google's homepage features artwork of Weigl in his laboratory studying body lice in order to develop the vaccine. Epidemic typhus is one of the oldest and most infectious diseases.

Weigl was born on this day in 1883 in the Austro-Hungarian town of Przerów, know known as the Czech Republic. He became the parasitologist of the Polish Army in 1914 after graduating from Poland's Lwów University.

Weigl studied boby lice for decades as body lice were known for carrying typhus-infecting bacteria as million across Eastern Europe were plagued by typhus. Weigl provided his first successful inoculation in 1936.

The doctor and immunologist was forced to open a vaccine plant when Germany occupied Poland during World War II. Weigl is estimated to have saved 5,000 people due to his efforts during this time as vaccine doses were distributed nationwide.

Weigl's work has received two Nobel Prize nominations.

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