Hate getting shots? Look on the bright side! At least you don't have to snort diseased scabs for inoculation. We wish we were kidding.
|Social Studies||History of Technology|
|Technology||History of Technology|
For most of human history, population growth and urbanization were severely limited by [People dying and gravestones popping up]
Smallpox, the bubonic plague, cholera, syphilis, malaria, yellow fever… [Different diseases as colored slime]
We were outgunned and outnumbered by our viral enemies.
In 1348, the Black Death killed 40% of Egypt's entire population…good thing they didn’t [People become pyramids]
all need a pyramid.
In the sixteenth century, smallpox, cholera, yellow fever, and malaria killed up to 90% [Native americans dying]
of the population of the Americas.
Sure, some groups developed immunities or slick tricks to avoid disease… [People washing their hands and wearing gloves]
But mostly people just lived with the constant fear of apocalyptic outbreaks.
If we lived back then, we’d be huddled in a corner with a jumbo bottle of Purell. [Man stood next to a giant bottle of handwash]
It definitely didn't help that medieval living conditions were less sanitary than a truck
stop bathroom on I-70.
Seriously…think about what a chamber pot actually was. [Old looking chamber pots]
Smallpox was the Voldemort of infectious diseases.
It killed about 30% of the people it came in contact with, left the rest horribly scarred [Voldemort as a virus infecting people]
or blinded, and kept returning and trying to take over the world.
It was also one of the first diseases that people figured out how to fight through a [Man dressed in karate costume trying to fight smallpox]
process called inoculation, or variolation.
Variolation was sort of an early, unreliable vaccine, but it did help stave off massive [Harry potter fighting with the voldemort virus]
If smallpox is Voldemort, variolation is the Order of the Phoenix. [Harry Potter kills voldemort]
To inoculate someone, they had to deliberately infect that person with a mild case of smallpox.
The mild part was key. [Doctor injecting someone with smallpox]
Ya know…cuz…getting a bad case of small pox would’ve been a bad way to avoid getting
a bad case of small pox.
Anybody eating anything?
Yeah, put that down and grab a brown paper bag… [Man puts a sandwich down and picks up a paper bag]
Cuz here come some gross details of just how variolation was accomplished.
In India and China, variolation was practiced by the 1400s.
It involved picking off smallpox scabs and then blowing the crushed scabs into a healthy [Person blowing on another person]
In Europe, where variolation was adopted in the mid-eighteenth century, they usually cut
open the sores and put the puss directly into a cut on the healthy person's hand. [Person looks grossed out]
Ah, nothing like a good dose of puss in the morning right.
Though this all sounds disgusting, it wasn’t crazy.
Inoculation worked…mostly. [Man with spots on his face blames doctor]
Sometimes it killed people, because the virus was too potent…or sometimes the disease [People dropping dead in the street]
wasn't successfully introduced.
It also wore off after a few years, leaving people vulnerable again. [Virus gives people spots on their faces]
But the principle was sound…
Expose a person's immune system to a mild form of a disease, and their body will produce
smart new cells that can target that disease if they ever encounter it again. [Diagram of the body making cells to combat the disease]
It's kinda like our immune systems hang a bunch of wanted posters all over our bodies…
And then our T-cells know who to shoot on sight.
Yeah, T-cells are tough cookies like that. [T-cells shooting the disease]