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Department
Immunology
Course Code
IMM250H1
Professor
J.Gommerman

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Lecture 01: The Immune System A Historical
Perspective
The Black Death (AKA bubonic plague)
Impact on world history
oExample of how the immune system responds to
pathogen can shape history, etc.
V. deadly
o1350-1400, 30-60% Europeans killed
o1550, Europes population recovered
Spread through trade routes, people moving to cities then to
countryside
oRats carrying fleas carrying Yersinia pestis
Yersinia pestis: bacterial causal agent
Cats considered evil then no natural rat
predators
Consequences
oFarmers killed food supplies cut off, starvation
oMongol Empire collapsed
oUnknown mechanism superstition had Jews
persecuted, suspected of poisoning wells
oCivic services shut down more taxes on peasants,
1371 revolt
oEducation and architecture suspended
Why the immune system matters
Black Death survivors had immunological advantage?
oRetrospective studies genes different between
survivors and victims
oSurvivor s had more resources Renaissance?
Or, b/c Church and feudalism dissolved as
unable to save people?
Immunity
Noun: “the quality or state of being immune; especially, a
condition of being able to resist a particular disease
o14th century
Timeline leading up to the conceptualization
2000 BC, Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh (fabled hero-king)
contained accounts of disease and pestilence
430 BC, plague outbreak spurred Thucydides (Greek historian,
general) to report idea of immunity as result of disease
oRefused to blame gods
930 AD, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi (Persian
physician [paediatrician, neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist],
alchemist) died
oFirst to diagnose smallpox versus measles, to recognize
smallpox’s epidemic capability
Using Humoralism to differentiate diseases
Theory of human body makeup and
mechanisms
www.notesolution.com
Lecture 01: The Immune System A Historical
Perspective
Illness and treatment depends on
imbalance of 4 humours (melancholic,
choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine)
Adopted by Greek, Roman, and Islamic
physicians and philosophers
Dominated medicine until advent of
modern medical research in 19th century
Superstition helped people cope with
the mass deaths (ie. 1/3 smallpox death
toll)
Versus idea same cause for all diseases
oFirst to describe allergic asthma
oFirst to understand fever as infection-fighting mechanism
1037 AD, Avicenna (Persian philosopher, physician) died
oConsidered father of modern medicine
oAuthored The Canon of Medicine, advising on clinical
trials, experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine,
infectious diseases, acquired immunity
oExpanded humoralism to include other aspects of
symptomology
1546, G. Fracastoro proposed epidemic disease to be caused by
transferable tiny spores that transmit infection by direct, indirect,
and no contact
oDominated for 3 centuries, until displaced by germ
theory
oIncorrectly believed immunity to measles equalled so for
smallpox; long-distance transmission possible
1721, prisoners and orphans inoculated with smallpox
subcutaneously, none contracted after deliberate smallpox
exposure months later
oConsidered safe, became fashionable in Europe
oVariolation: practise of inducing immunity to smallpox by
inoculation
Deaths occurred b/c suitable strain difficult to
identify
Bubonic plague one-time occurrence, but
smallpox kept recurring
1796, E. Jenner Theorized cowpox less virulent and similar to
smallpox, so explaining why milkmaids did not get smallpox
oVariolation limited success, so sought safer alternative
oInoculated J. Phipps with cowpox pus from S. Nelmes,
then variolation
No symptoms Phipps acquired immunity via
cowpox inoculation
oVaccinations given to public
Harmless, allow immunity to pathogen to be
acquired
1880s, L. Pasteur coined vaccines
oBelieved better way to vaccinate is to make the pathogen
innocuous, then vaccinate
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Lecture 01: The Immune System A Historical Perspective The Black Death (AKA bubonic plague) Impact on world history o Example of how the immune system responds to pathogen can shape history, etc. V. deadly o 1350-1400, 30-60% Europeans killed o 1550, Europes population recovered Spread through trade routes, people moving to cities then to countryside o Rats carrying fleas carrying Yersinia pestis Yersinia pestis: bacterial causal agent Cats considered evil then no natural rat predators Consequences o Farmers killed food supplies cut off, starvation o Mongol Empire collapsed o Unknown mechanism superstition had Jews persecuted, suspected of poisoning wells o Civic services shut down more taxes on peasants, 1371 revolt o Education and architecture suspended Why the immune system matters Black Death survivors had immunological advantage? o Retrospective studies genes different between survivors and victims o Survivors had more resources Renaissance? Or, bc Church and feudalism dissolved as unable to save people? Immunity Noun: the quality or state of being immune; especially, a condition of being able to resist a particular disease th o 14 century Timeline leading up to the conceptualization 2000 BC, Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh (fabled hero-king) contained accounts of disease and pestilence 430 BC, plague outbreak spurred Thucydides (Greek historian, general) to report idea of immunity as result of disease o Refused to blame gods 930 AD, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi (Persian physician [paediatrician, neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist], alchemist) died o First to diagnose smallpox versus measles, to recognize smallpoxs epidemic capability Using Humoralism to differentiate diseases Theory of human body makeup and mechanisms www.notesolution.com
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