By Peggy Thomas
They're answerable for the various deadliest ailments, but they play an important position in keeping existence in the world. In Bacteria and Viruses, find out about the scientists who came upon them, how we struggle the damaging ones, and the way priceless microbes can be utilized to enhance our lives.
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Extra info for Bacteria and Viruses (The Lucent Library of Science and Technology)
Within a few days James came down with a fever and a small sore. On July 1, believing that the cowpox inoculation would prevent the development of smallpox, Jenner inoculated James with matter from a smallpox patient. Nineteen days later Jenner wrote, “The Boy has since been inoculated for the Smallpox which as I ventured to predict produced no effects. ” 15 Jenner went on to repeat his experiments and published his results, calling his technique vaccination and the matter taken from the cowpox sore a vaccine (derived from vacca, the Latin word for cow).
18 Microbes Mutate The wisdom of a microbe lies in its ability to change. They are able to reproduce much faster than their human competitors. A new generation can come along as quickly as every fifteen minutes, and each time a bacterium divides, there is a chance for error. A random change in the genetic makeup of a cell that becomes a permanent inherited characteristic is called a mutation. And a mutation that increases a microbe’s chance of survival is passed on to the next generation. Bacteria can also trade or share parts of their DNA through a process called horizontal gene transfer.
The virus attacks the nervous system and infects the brain, causing a difficult and painful death. Pasteur knew that a weakened germ worked as a vaccine against other diseases in animals and believed that a similar treatment for humans should work against rabies. He injected Joseph with the weakened vaccine and increased the dose daily. After fourteen days Joseph Meister was stronger and had made history. He became the first person to survive rabies. More Vaccines Pasteur’s success inspired a concerted effort to develop vaccines for other dreadful diseases, but it did not happen quickly.