Louis Pasteur Demonstrates Anthrax Vaccine

In 1877, Louis Pasteur began his animal experiments with anthrax.

After years of attempting to infect animals, he announced that he had developed a means of protecting sheep against anthrax - by neutralising the virulence of baccilus anthracus and then injecting this into the animals - but few believed him. He was asked to prove his claim by a public demonstration, and immediately accept the challenge. Although there is agreement that Pasteur inoculated a number of animals with his vaccine on 31 May 1881, and the demonstration took place at a farmyard in Pouilly le Fort near Melun, France on 2nd June, different accounts have related the numbers, and species of animals used.

When the visitors arrived on June 2, they were astounded. The twenty-four sheep, the goat, and the six cows which had received the vaccinations of attenuated anthrax, all appeared healthy. In Contrast, twenty-one sheep and the goat which had not been vaccinated had already died of anthrax; two other unvaccinated sheep died in front of the viewers, and the one remaining sheep died at the end of the day. ”

— Louis Pasteur