Today’s Doodle, created by Tatsuro Kiuchi, a guest artist from Tokyo, Japan, honours Japanese virologist Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the first chickenpox vaccine. Takahashi’s vaccination has subsequently been given to millions of youngsters all over the world as a safe and effective way to avoid severe cases of the dangerous viral disease and its spread.
Michiaki Takahashi was born in Osaka, Japan, on this day in 1928. He graduated from Osaka University with a medical degree and joined the Osaka University Research Institute for Microbial Disease in 1959. Dr. Takahashi received a research fellowship at Baylor College in the United States in 1963 after investigating measles and polio viruses. His son got a bad case of chickenpox during this time, prompting him to focus his skills on combating the highly contagious virus.
In 1965, Dr. Takahashi returned to Japan and began growing live chickenpox viruses in animal and human tissue. It was ready for clinical trials after only five years of development. Dr. Takahashi discovered the first vaccination against the varicella virus, which causes chickenpox, in 1974. It was then put through extensive testing with immunocompromised people and found to be incredibly successful. The only varicella vaccine approved by the World Health Organization was launched in Japan in 1986 by the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases at Osaka University.
The life-saving vaccination developed by Dr. Takahashi was quickly adopted in over 80 nations. He was named director of the Microbial Disease Study Group at Osaka University in 1994, a position he held until his retirement. Every year, millions of cases of chickenpox are prevented because to his ideas.