Google Doodle Honours Polish Vaccine Scientist Rudolf Weigl

Rudolf Stefan Weigl was born on 2 September 1883, in the Austro-Hungarian town of Przerów.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Google Doodle is celebrating 138th birthday of Polish biologist Rudolf Weigl</p></div>

Google Doodle on Thursday, 2 September, celebrated the 138th birthday of Polish inventor, doctor, and immunologist Rudolf Weigl. He is known for producing the first effective vaccine against one of humanity’s oldest and most infectious diseases, typhus.


Rudolf Stefan Weigl was born on 2 September 1883, in the Austro-Hungarian town of Przerów (modern-day Czech Republic). He pursued biological sciences at Lwów University, Poland, and was later was appointed as a parasitologist in the Polish Army in 1914.

He was determined to contain the spread of typhus plague, which had already affected millions across Eastern Europe. "Body lice were known to carry the typhus-infecting bacteria Rickettsia prowazekii, so Weigl adapted the tiny insect into a laboratory specimen. His innovative research revealed how to use lice to propagate the deadly bacteria which he studied for decades with the hope of developing a vaccine," reads Google Doodle blog.

After decades of research, Weigl’s vaccine successfully inoculated its first beneficiary in 1936.

An estimated 5,000 people were saved by Weigl during the Second World War. When Germany invaded Poland, he was forced to open a vaccine production plant. "He used the facility to hire friends and colleagues at risk of persecution under the new regime," the blog added.

Today, Rudolf Weigl is remembered as a remarkable scientist and hero whose work has been honoured by two Noble Prize nominations.

Google celebrates his birthday by sharing a doodle of Weigl on its search page.

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