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Edward Jenner

Edward Anthony Jenner, juga dikenal sebagai “Bapak Imunologi,” adalah seorang ilmuwan Inggris yang menemukan vaksin cacar. Penemuannya adalah terobosan besar yang mampu menyelamatkan nyawa yang tak terhitung banyaknya.

Biografi Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner lahir pada 17 Mei 1749, di Berkeley. Dia adalah anak ke delapan dari sembilan bersaudara. Saat itu ia bersekolah di Wotton-under-Edge dan Cirencester. Sejak kecil Edward  adalah seorang pengamat alami yang sangat teliti.

Sembilan tahun setelah bekerja sebagai pegawai magang dokter bedah, ia bergabung dengan Rumah Sakit St George di London untuk belajar operasi dan anatomi. Edward Jenner belajar di bawah bimbingan seorang ahli bedah terkemuka bernama John Hunter. Setelah studinya, ia kembali ke Berkeley di mana ia kemudian mendirikan sebuah praktek medis.

Penemuan Vaksin Cacar oleh Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner bekerja di sebuah pedesaan kecil di mana kebanyakan pasien adalah petani yang memiliki ternak. Selama waktu ini berkembang penyakit cacar yang umumnya penyebab utama kematian. Untuk mengatasi penyakit ini semula dilakukan dengan metode yang didasarkan pada cara Jan Ingenhaus, seorang ahli fisiologi Belanda. Metode ini melibatkan inokulasi orang yang sehat dengan beberapa zat yang berasal dari pustula orang dengan kasus penyakit ringan. Namun, hasilnya malah fatal pada kebanyakan kasus.

Pada 1788, epidemi cacar melanda Gloucestershire. Selama wabah terjadi, Edward Jenner mengamati bahwa beberapa orang yang bekerja mengurus ternak yang terinfeksi cacar sapi tidak pernah terkena virus cacar. Setelah berpikir, dia membutuhkan sebuah cara untuk membuktikan bahwa teori hasil pengamatannya benar-benar bisa dibuktikan.

Pada bulan Mei 1796, Jenner akhirnya memperoleh kesempatan ketika salah seorang gadis pemerah susu muda datang menunjukkan beberapa luka melepuh di kedua tangannya. Jenner mengidentifikasi bahwa wanita muda telah terinfeksi cacar sapi, karena ia selalu mengurusi sapi setiap hari. Yang dia lakukan kemudian adalah mengekstrak cairan dari luka pasien tersebut. Cairan itu kemudian diinjeksikan pada seorang pria muda yang sehat yang belum pernah terkena penyakit cacar. Beberapa waktu kemudian hasilnya adalah, sang pemuda tidak pernah bisa terinfeksi cacar.

Pada tahun 1798, setelah beberapa tes sukses lainnya, Edward Jenner akhirnya menerbitkan penemuannya dalam publikasi dengan judul An Inquiry into Causes plus the Effects of Variolae Vaccine. Ia menyebut idenya itu dengan  “vaksinasi,” yang berasal dari kata vaccinia (bahasaLatin untuk cacar sapi). Setelah memperoleh begitu banyak ejekan, banyak dokter lain akhirnya membuktikan juga bahwa vaksinasi benar-benar bekerja dan telah dilakukan lebih dari 1800 kali.

Pada tahun 1805, Jenner bergabung dengan Medical and Chirurgical Society. Beberapa tahun kemudian pada tahun 1821, ia diangkat menjadi Dokter Luar Biasa oleh Raja George IV. Edward Jenner terus menyelidiki sejarah alam dan pada tahun 1823, ia juga menyajikan hasil pengamatannya Observations on the Migration of Birds kepada masyarakat kerajaan.

Edward Jenner mengalami kelumpuhan pada 25 Januari, 1823. Sisi kanan tubuhnya benar-benar tidak bisa digerakkan dan tidak pernah bisa pulih. Ia meninggal beberapa bulan kemudian karena stroke pada usia 73 tahun, 26 Januari 1823.

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