Today Google Doodle celebrates the 138th birthday of Polish inventor, physician and immunologist Rudolf Weigl. He is known as the creator of the first effective vaccine against it 7; typhus epidemic. There are three types of typhus: exfoliating typhus, mouse typhus, and epidemic typhus. It is a group of diseases caused by bacteria that spread fleas, lice and fleas.
Each insect spreads a type of typhus: chicks spread typhus patchy, fleas spread mouse typhus, and body lice spread epidemic typhus. According to the US CDC, epidemic typhus was the cause of death for millions of people in previous centuries, but today it is very rare. When cases occur, it is observed in areas of extreme overcrowding, where body lice can easily pass from one person to another. Born in 1883, Weigl was born in what is now the Czech Republic as the son of Austro-German parents. His father died in a bicycle accident and his mother remarried a Polish high school teacher.
In 1907 he completed his studies in biology at the Polish University of Lwów and then obtained a doctorate in zoology, comparative anatomy and histology. Typhus was a big problem during World War I, and Weigl has been studying lice in his lab for decades and has been able to develop a vaccine from these small insects. After Charles Nicolle’s preliminary work in 1909 (he discovered that lice were the vector of epidemic typhus), Weigl began work on a vaccine against epidemic typhus. To develop the vaccine, he bred the lice that Rickettsia prowazeki had been infected with and then crushed into a vaccine paste. He used this paste for experiments on animals and also performed some experiments on humans.
Weigl was successful in 1936 and vaccinated its first beneficiary. During the Soviet occupation he headed the Department of General Biology at Lviv University and worked on the development of this vaccine. The Typhus Research Institute was founded in his department. It maintained its position during the occupation as its research was particularly important as typhus spread mainly in Eastern Europe