The past may hold the answer to getting America back to work

With a vaccine at least a year away, the past may hold the answer to getting the world back in order. Variolation is a six-hundred-year-old predecessor to the smallpox vaccination. It was also an essential part of creating the United States of America. It may be time to visit it once again. Variolation worked by introducing a minute dose of the smallpox virus into the human body to trigger a mild infection that stimulates the immune system. Unfortunately, some people reacted strongly even to a small dose, and about 2% of people died. The variolation mortality rate, though, was still better than having smallpox running rampant through a community. With variolation, smallpox’s mortality ranged from 35% in Europeans to 90% in Native Americans. Variolation also failed to control contagion. Because variolated people genuinely had smallpox, they were contagious. However, if a substantial subset of the population was variolated, that helped resolve the infection...(Read Full Post)
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