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Not so long ago, the whole idea of what our present-day society waits for impatiently and nervously, the chance to be zapped with the Corona menace, would have seemed madness on a vast scale.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Genius in the lab ... Louis Pasteur in his laboratory back in the late 1800s. It's his magic that will return good health to the world ... and an end of masks. Painting by A. Edelfeldt in 1885. Many thanks to Wikipedia.
'You want to what?' our not-so-far-back relations might have demanded had they known our plan to download helpings of a weakened Corona into our bodies.

They'd have considered us well beyond the pale.

Humans, they might have reminded us, don’t cure alcoholism by guzzling more booze.

Madness! And it does seem very much like it.

Serious smash

We wouldn’t think of putting our kids in the middle of a suburban road so they are run down by a slow driver so they’ll be safe in any serious smash beyond the 20 or 30 mph zones.

Yet isn’t this a variation of sorts of where our great hope lies? We’ll mainline a squirt or two of weakened Corona virus into ourselves and that’ll save the day … and our lives.

Are we crazy? We must be, only we know from inoculations in early schooldays that amazingly, somehow, they work.

Crazy notion

One of the basic principles for protective inoculation was discovered, namely the technique of using weakened pathogens to mobilize the host organism against intact pathogens of the same type.
Who dreamed up such a crazy notion. We’d all probably name Louis Pasteur, without much difficulty.

An article from that great online book-quoting website, Delancey Place explains.

Just 140 years ago, Louis Pasteur significantly improved the vaccine process than had been discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796.

Ernest Baumler reports in his book, Paul Ehrlich: Scientist for Life, that Pasteur noticed that cultures from what was called chicken cholera were left standing for several weeks, the microorganisms grew in an infected broth.

For a reason not explained here, Pasteur infected a few chickens with the old and apparently very weak culture.

‘He found, much to his surprise, that the chickens briefly hung their heads but nevertheless survived the infection,’ the author tells.

Became immune

‘When he infected the same chickens with a fresh culture shortly afterwards, they had obviously become immune, as they showed no further reaction whatever.’

Mr Baumler explains, 'One of the basic principles for protective inoculation was discovered, namely the technique of using weakened pathogens to mobilize the host organism against intact pathogens of the same type.'

Incredibly, that rendered them harmless and protected the infected human or animal. That's encouraging recent history for those waiting for an armful of weakened Corona.

Brilliant Louis was certainly feted by France, but what about trying it with humans?

The book highlights a tense first trial. In 1885, in this month, July, a mother pleaded with him to at least try an inoculation on her nine-year-old son, who had been infected by a rabid dog.

Pasteur conferred with medical experts and that evening vaccinated the lad. It took 30 days before success was certain. How the world of the late 1800s lauded Louis … and how we might well, too, when the Corona vaccine can be offered to us and the world.

But, oh, what will we do with our mountains of masks then?

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