Jean Joseph Henri Toussaint

Jean -Joseph Henry Toussaint ( born April 30, 1847 in Rouvres la Chétive; † August 3, 1890 in Toulouse ) was a French physician and veterinarian. He developed a method of vaccination against anthrax, in which he weakened the pathogen by the antiseptic phenol. This was the first time that pathogens have been weakened or killed by a chemical for a vaccine. Louis Pasteur was wrong in his famous experiment of Pouilly -le- Fort, in which he in turn presented a anthrax vaccine, the public that he had taken this idea of Toussaint.

  • 3.1 out of Toussaint
  • 3.2 to Toussaint


Henry Toussaint was born in a small village of the Vosges, the son of a carpenter and an embroiderer. In October 1865 he began studying at the Veterinary School ( École nationale vétérinaire ) of Lyon and graduated in 1869 with a degree in veterinary medicine from. Until November 1876, he then worked there as a veterinarian and at the same time at the Veterinary School of Toulouse, where he passed the Baccalauréat, in order to apply for a job in the teaching profession can.

In December 1876 he was appointed professor of anatomy, physiology and zoology at the Veterinary School of Toulouse; later the Chair of the bins physiology and therapy was rededicated. In addition, he received his doctorate in Lyon in natural sciences as well as in human medicine. The final conclusion, it also allowed him to be appointed as a 1878 addition physiology professor at the Faculty of Human Medicine in Toulouse.

From 1881 his health was due to a nerve disease that has never been accurately diagnosed, according to. His intellectual abilities decreased, and in 1887, he was released from their duties. The Ministry of Agriculture gave him in recognition of his services to science a generous pension. Despite his health him the learned societies of his time has won numerous awards. Thanks to this support impoverished Toussaint and could not be treated medically until death. After nine years of illness he died in 1890 at the age of only 43 years.


Studies on anthrax

As a young professor at the Ecole vétérinaire of Toulouse initially worked Toussaint about the anthrax. The starting point was the work of Casimir Davaine, who had reported on in numerous articles in the Academy of Sciences. His first two releases are from the year 1877.

In March 1878 Toussaint proved in a recent article, the infectious nature of the anthrax pathogen and showed that the disease was identical in rabbits, guinea pigs and sheep. Blood of anthrax - infected animals could cause inflammation. To this end, he proposed a theory for the mode of action of anthrax.

In 1879 he traveled to Beauce, to study the anthrax there. The findings were published in a report to the Ministry of Agriculture. Here he was able to show that the disease is passed on through the food that there is no spontaneous anthrax, and that the absorption into the body always represents the necessary condition for the disease.

In 1879 he summarized his work on the anthrax in his doctoral thesis at the Medical Faculty of the University of Lyon. This work also contains a section on fowl cholera. Toussaint is here that the disease is energized by a microbe and a septicemia is like. With this work, Toussaint applied also to the Bréant Prize of the Academy of Sciences, which he received in the following year.

Vaccination against anthrax

Beginning of 1880 Toussaint began his attempts at a vaccine against anthrax, which he initially resorted to filtered blood. Because the filtering technique was unreliable and experimental animals died, he changed the process by freeing the blood of patients suffering from anthrax animals of coagulation factors and ten minutes, heated to 55 ° C, as well as admitting to 0.25 percent phenol. In May 1880, he had worked out the method of heat sterilization and also found that he had to repeat the vaccination once for a safe protection.

On July 12, 1880 Henry Toussaint deposited a sealed envelope at the Academy of Sciences. In it he wrote of the opportunity to acquire an immunity to anthrax. At the request of some Academy members he quickly lifted the secret: On August 2, he demanded in a letter to break the sealed envelope. In the text, he recommended to heat the defibrinated blood of anthrax infected animals for ten minutes at 55 ° C. With this vaccine he had succeeded to immunize young dogs and sheep.

From 6 to August 8, 1880, organized a demonstration Toussaint trial on the grounds of the Veterinary School of Alfort at Vincennes, in which 20 sheep were vaccinated twice. On August 19, Toussaint presented his method also to the Congress of the French Society for the Advancement of Science in Reims: The protective effect of his vaccine, he led to a weakening of the exciting return by the phenol, which the carcasses leave time to deal with new infections be.

1881 published Toussaint is one last item to questions of immunity against anthrax, as well as a new method of vaccination against fowl cholera. It was followed by four papers on tuberculosis. They were due to his increasing health problems to his last scientific publications.

Pasteur's experiments on anthrax vaccination

Louis Pasteur had divided the pathogen for its vaccine against fowl cholera mitigated by he had long engaged culture breaks. In his opinion, the slowdown was due to the oxygen in the air. In May 1881 undertook in Pouilly -le-Fort near Melun a large vaccine trial against anthrax at 50 wethers. He divided into two groups. The first group received at intervals of 15 days, two anthrax vaccinations with a vaccine, which had been prepared by Pasteur and his staff. Both groups living anthrax bacilli were then injected. All unvaccinated animals died; all vaccinated survived. This experiment was to Pasteur at fame.

In his book published in 1938 A l' ombre de Pasteur pointed Adrien Loir - nephew of Pasteur - after that the excitation for the production of the vaccine used for the trial of Pouilly -le-Fort in fact, on a proposal of its employees Charles Chamberland and Émile Roux with a antiseptic - had been weakened - in this case potassium dichromate. So Pasteur's co-workers used a method similar to that of Toussaint resembled that had weakened the pathogen with phenol. Chamberland had acquired aware of the proceedings because he had been one of the reviewers at Toussaint demonstration experiment.

Pasteur's secret notes, which were deposited by him at the Academy of Sciences and are known since 1988, show that he had actually used a heated and attenuated by potassium dichromate vaccine. So he pursued this idea, for Toussaint state the priority. The report shall reimburse the Pasteur the academy, however, he gives the impression that the pathogen had been weakened in its vaccine to be achieved by the oxygen and therefore the anthrax experiment with the wethers had been successful.

1883 published Charles Chamberland and Émile Roux a note in the Comptes Rendus de l' Académie des Sciences. Thus, they had studied under the guidance of the Pasteur effect of a large number of antiseptics on anthrax, including phenol and potassium dichromate. Toussaint is not granted the priority of the principle of attenuation of pathogens for a vaccine by chemicals, too. Because of its nerve disease he could not defend himself his priority claim as well. While in 1882 Toussaint Auguste Chauveau teacher had pointed out the priority of his pupil; However, this came as a result in favor of Pasteur into oblivion.