The Irish Examiner View: Today’s holy grail

The Irish Examiner View: Today’s holy grail

The “long 18th century”  ran, roughly, from 1685 to 1815 and is celebrated as the Age of Reason or The Enlightenment. Politics, philosophy, science and communications changed tremendously in that period. Just before it ended Edward Jenner developed the first vaccine to counter a contagious disease - the deadly smallpox virus. What Jenner and his peers might make of those who today, despite 200-plus years of positive evidence, reject vaccination is anyone’’s guess.  

What they might make of a new study that underlines the necessity of the MMR vaccine by showing that a high percentage of people who suffer a sudden loss of hearing had mumps is another open question - at least for that increasingly marginalised minority.

Is seems reasonable to suggest though that Jenner and his peers, were they alive today, would be part of the great international effort to find a vaccine for coronavirus -  a holy grail as sought as an antidote to smallpox was once sought and the key to a return to normality.

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