Michiaki Takahashi

Michiaki Takahashi: Google Doodle pays tribute to Chickenpox vaccine inventor

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The 94th birthday of Dr Michiaki Takahashi, the Japanese virologist who discovered the first chickenpox vaccine, is commemorated with a Google Doodle on February 17.

Takahashi is shown using a microscope for his research and applying a band-aid on a child’s arm in the Google Doodle, which was created by Japanese artist Tatsuro Kiuchi.

Michiaki Takahashi was born in 1928 in Osaka, Japan, and graduated from Osaka University with a medical degree before joining 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 polioviruses. During this time, his kid had chickenpox, prompting him to apply his knowledge to controlling the extremely contagious condition.

In 1965, the virologist returned to Japan. He began his research by growing chickenpox viruses that had been attenuated in human and animal tissue.

Takahashi produced the first vaccination against the varicella virus, which causes chickenpox, in 1974. The vaccine was shown to be extremely effective after extensive testing on immunocompromised people.

In 1986, the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases began distributing the vaccine after it was authorised by the World Health Organization.

Takahashi’s life-saving vaccination was utilised in over 80 nations. It has been given to millions of kids all around the world. Every year, the virologist’s efforts assist to prevent millions of instances of chickenpox.

He was named director of the Microbial Disease Study Group at Osaka University in 1994, a post he maintained until his retirement. Every year, millions of cases of chickenpox are avoided because of his ideas.

Tatsuro Kiuchi, a guest artist from Tokyo, Japan, has created today’s Doodle.