We're Asking the Impossible of Vaccines | RealClearPolitics

We're Asking the Impossible of Vaccines

We're Asking the Impossible of Vaccines
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In 1846, the Danish physician Peter Ludvig Panum traveled to the Faroe Islands in search of measles. The rocky archipelago, which sits some 200 miles north of Scotland, had been slammed with an outbreak, and Panum was dispatched by his government to investigate. The trip predated the formal discovery of viruses and antibodies by several decades, but Panum still stumbled upon a beguiling immunological trend: Dozens of the islands’ eldest residents, who had survived another measles epidemic in 1781—65 years earlier—weren’t getting sick this time around. “Not one, as far as I could find out by careful inquiry,” he wrote in a treatise, “was attacked the second time.”

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