Indians knew smallpox inoculation before Jenner invented vaccine: Vardhan

Published - February 23, 2015 09:56 am IST - New Delhi

Union Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday claimed that modern medicine originated in India and that Indians had practised inoculation against small pox even before the vaccine for the disease was invented by Edward Jenner.

Dr. Vardhan, who is himself an ENT surgeon, said that most of what is taken to be modern medicine had come back to India through the “American route” after being first translated into Arabic and Persian in 9 AD and, from that, into the European languages in the 17th century.

The minister claimed that India had known immunisation against small pox even before Edward Jenner invented the vaccine for the same in 1798.

“All of us know that Edward Jenner was the man who invented the vaccination for small pox, but our Vedas will tell that the Hindus and Mohammedans of this country had done small pox inoculations hundreds of years before the vaccine was invented. So, it’s not about boasting, but the facts will all remain facts,” he said.

The minister further said that even before the Hippocratic Oath begun to be administered to medical professionals, Sushruta and Ashwini, the surgeons of ancient India, told people to practise the same.

“Much before the Hippocratic Path was given to people in the field of medicine, our people here... whether it was Sushruta or Ashwini or others, they had talked about the oath where they had said that medical people should act with compassion... should not practise for gaining money or things like that. Sushruta and all great surgeons taught to the whole world plastic surgery of nose,” the minister said.

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