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Google Doodle: Today’s Doodle celebrates Japanese virologist Dr. Michiaki Takahashi

Dr. Michiaki Takahashi
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Dr. Michiaki Takahashi: Google celebrated the 94th birthday of Dr. Michiaki Takahashi with a special doodle on Febraury 17. Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, a Japanes Virologist.

Who invented the chickenpox vaccine?

Maurice Hilleman helped developed vaccines for the mumps, measles and chickenpox, among other diseases. In the 1950s, scientists isolated the varicella-zoster virus for the first time, paving the way for efforts to vaccinate against chickenpox and shingles. His son’s own experience with the highly contagious disease inspired the Japanese virologist to develop a vaccine.

When was the chickenpox vaccine created?

In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got chickenpox, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died each year. Chickenpox vaccine became available in the United States in 1995.

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Tokyo, Japan-based guest artist Tatsuro Kiuchi, celebrates Japanese virologist Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the first vaccine against chickenpox. Takahashi’s vaccine has since been administered to millions of children around the world as an effective measure to prevent severe cases of the contagious viral disease and its transmission.

Michiaki Takahashi was born on this day in 1928 in Osaka, Japan. He earned his medical degree from Osaka University  and joined the Research Institute for Microbial Disease, Osaka University in 1959. After studying measles and polio viruses, Dr. Takahashi accepted a research fellowship in 1963 at Baylor College in the United States. It was during this time that his son developed a serious bout of chickenpox, leading him to turn his expertise toward combating the highly transmissible illness.

OTHER VACCINE PIONEERS CELEBRATED BY GOOGLE

  • Google Doodle Honors Rudolf Weigl, Vaccine Inventor Who Saved Jews From Nazis
  • Google Doodle Celebrates Stamen Grigorov, the Yogurt Doctor Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis
  • Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Polio Doctor Jean Macnamara

His son’s own experience with the highly contagious disease inspired the Japanese virologist to develop a vaccine. His son eventually recovered, but, Takahashi said, “I realized then that I should use my knowledge of viruses to develop a chickenpox vaccine.”

Dr. Takahashi’s lifesaving vaccine was soon utilized in over 80 countries. In 1994, he was appointed the director of Osaka University’s Microbial Disease Study Group—a position he held until his retirement. Thanks to his innovations, millions of cases of chickenpox are prevented each year.

Today’s Doodle celebrates Japanese virologist Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the first vaccine against chickenpox. He died in 2013 at the age of 85. Great Job Google on celebrating his 94th Birthday. Many Thanks and much appreciated.

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