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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed3010017

The ‘Influenza’ Vaccine Used during the Samoan Pandemic of 1918

1
Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute, Enoggera, QLD 4051, Australia
2
University of Queensland, School of Public Health, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1585 KB, uploaded 2 February 2018]   |  

Abstract

In 1918, a crude influenza vaccine made from chemically inactivated, mixed cultures of respiratory bacteria was widely used prior to the understanding that influenza was caused by a virus. Such vaccines contained no viral material and probably consisted largely of bacterial endotoxin. The Australian military used such a vaccine on Samoa in December 1918 and thought it was valuable. Post hoc analyses suggest that the mixed respiratory bacteria vaccine may have actually been of some benefit, but the mechanism of such protection is unknown. Although such a crude vaccine would not be considered in a modern setting, the rapid use of problematic vaccines still remains a risk when new influenza types suddenly appear, as in 1976 and 2009. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza; 1918 pandemic; vaccine; endotoxin influenza; 1918 pandemic; vaccine; endotoxin
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Shanks, G.D. The ‘Influenza’ Vaccine Used during the Samoan Pandemic of 1918. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3, 17.

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