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[Historical Review] Revisiting Jenner's mysteries, the role of the Beaugency lymph in the evolutionary path of ancient smallpox vaccines

21:45 EDT 18 Aug 2017 | The Lancet

In 1796, Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine consisting of pustular material obtained from lesions on cows affected by so-called cow-pox. The disease, caused by cowpox virus, confers crossprotection against smallpox. However, historical evidence suggests that Jenner might have used vaccinia virus or even horsepox virus instead of cowpox virus. Mysteries surrounding the origin and nature of the smallpox vaccine persisted during the 19th century, a period of intense exchange of vaccine strains, including the Beaugency lymph.

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