John Franklin Enders Nobel laureate developed method for detecting antibodies for mumps virus

John Franklin Enders – father of modern vaccines

Article on John Franklin Enders

Biography & contributions

John Franklin Enders, an American biomedical scientist and Nobel laureate born on February 10, 1897 – died on September 08, 1985. Enders is considered as the ‘father of modern vaccines’ because of his intensive work on vaccines.

Enders was the receiver of many notable awards and medals like Passano Award in the year of 1953, Albert Lasker Award in the year of 1954, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in the year of 1954, Charles V. Chapin Medal in the year of 1955, Gordon Wilson Medal in the year of 1955, Presidential Medal in the year of 1963. 

He developed a method for detecting antibodies to the mumps virus. Enders developed a method for detecting antibodies to the mumps virus, a breakthrough which led to a skin test that could diagnose the disease. Enders, working along with Thomas H. Weller and Frederick C. Robbins, became the first to grow the poliomyelitis viruses in tissue cultures.

The Enders-Weller-Robbins method of production, achieved in test tubes using cultures of nonnerve tissue from human embryos and monkeys, led to the development of the Salk vaccine for polio in 1954.

Chemicals in vaccines

Vaccines are made up of small amounts of the bacteria, virus or other antigen and administered to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies to prevent future infections with the disease. Small amounts of chemicals may be added to the vaccine's formula for the purpose of to preserve or improve its effectiveness and keep it sterile.

Chemicals commonly used in the production of vaccines include a suspending fluid preservatives and stabilizers and adjuvants or enhancers that help improve the vaccine's effectiveness. Vaccines also may contain very small amounts of the culture material used to grow the virus or bacteria used in the vaccine, such as chicken egg protein.

The amount of chemical additives found in vaccines is very small. Common substances found in vaccines include

Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum - These are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate a better response.

Formaldehyde – It is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines. It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) & 2-phenoxy-ethanol – These are used as stabilizers in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.

Thimerosal – It is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

Other chemicals present in vaccines include

Vaccine Chemical composition
Anthrax (BioThrax) Aluminum Hydroxide, Amino Acids, Benzethonium Chloride, Formaldehyde or Formalin, Inorganic Salts and Sugars, Vitamins
BCG (Tice) Asparagine, Citric Acid, Lactose, Glycerin, Iron Ammonium Citrate, Magnesium,Sulfate, Potassium Phosphate
Rabies (RabAvert) Amphotericin B, Beta-Propiolactone, Bovine Albumin or Serum, Chicken Protein, Chlortetracycline, Egg Albumin (Ovalbumin), Ethylenediamine-Tetraacetic Acid Sodium (EDTA), Neomycin, Potassium Glutamate


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