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Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun;83(2):77-85.

The yellow fever vaccine: a history.

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University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94302, USA.


After failed attempts at producing bacteria-based vaccines, the discovery of a viral agent causing yellow fever and its isolation in monkeys opened new avenues of research. Subsequent advances were the attenuation of the virus in mice and later in tissue culture; the creation of the seed lot system to avoid spontaneous mutations; the ability to produce the vaccine on a large scale in eggs; and the removal of dangerous contaminants. An important person in the story is Max Theiler, who was Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale from 1964-67, and whose work on virus attenuation created the modern vaccine and earned him the Nobel Prize.


Theiler; cell culture; history; vaccine; yellow fever

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