When was the tetanus vaccine born?
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In 1889 Japanese physician and bacteriologist Kitasato Shibasaburo isolated the organism from a man demonstrating that it produced disease when injected into animals and reported that the toxin could be neutralized by specific antibodies.
In 1897, Edmond Nocard demonstrated the protective effect of passively transferred antitoxin, and passive immunization in humans was used for treatment and prophylaxis during the First World War. In the early 20s, a method was developed to inactivate the tetanus toxin with formaldehyde. This led to the development of tetanus toxoid in 1924. The drug was first used extensively during World War II.
At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. M. Carolyn Hardegree collaborated with Dr. Margaret Pittman and Dr. Michael Barile to studies on tetanus toxoids in humans and guinea pigs. In 1970 she, together with colleagues FD Schofield, R. Maclennan and A. Kelly, published the paper "Immunization Against Neonatal Tetanus in New Guinea". Their work is a continuation of a study reported in 1965 on tetanus antitoxin titers among women after primary immunization with adsorbed toxoids or AIPO oil adjuvants(4).
The Division of Biologics Standards (DBS) initiated a series of contract studies to evaluate safety. The DBS final report indicated that the use of mineral oil-based adjuvants in the human population could be dangerous and should not be recommended for general use in humans.
In 1948, the tetanus vaccine became available in a combination vaccine (DTP) with diphtheria toxoid and pertussis vaccine. Vaccines containing tetanus toxoid were introduced into routine childhood vaccination in the late 40s.