Saturday, October 22, 2011

Poland 2011 Rudolf Stefan Weigl

One of the 4 stamps released on 29 August 2011 by Poland, on the theme of famous Poles, features Rudolf Stefan Weigl (1883-1957) who invented the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus in 1933. Weigl's vaccine was made up of ground up lice; lice were responsible for the spread of typhus; the first major application of this vaccine took place between 1936 and 1943 by the Belgian missionaries in China. More modern vaccine against typhus has been invented since then.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monaco 1974 Centenary of birth of Ernest Duchesne

4 years after Sir Alexander Fleming received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of penicillin, the French National Academy of Medicine (l’Académie nationale de médecine) officially recognized Ernest Duchesne's original work in 1894 as the original discovery of antibiotics! This stamp released by Monaco on 8 May 1974 celebrates the birth centenary of Ernest Duchesne. Duchesne enrolled at l'Ecole du Service de Santé Militaire de Lyon (School of Military Health Services in Lyons) in 1894, and in 1897 submitted his thesis, “Contribution à l’étude de la concurrence vitale chez les micro-organismes: antagonisme entre les moisissures et les microbes” (Contribution to the study of competitive survival of micro-organisms: Antagonism between moulds and microbes) to get his doctoral degree. This was considered the first study in the therapeutic capabilities of moulds resulting from their anti-microbial activity. Because of his youth and military commitment, his recommendation in his thesis for further investigation into this phenomenon was ignored. Duchesne died at age of 37 on 12 April 1912, from a lung infection, probably tuberculosis.