CHAPTER 19

The Haffkine Institute, 1899–1947

Mridula Ramanna*

The Haffkine Institute (HI) of Bombay owed its origin to the work of Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine,1 who discovered the anti-plague vaccine. The vaccine came to be known, when the plague was officially acknowledged in September 1896 within a few weeks of its outbreak. Working in a small room in the Petit Laboratory at Bombay's Grant Medical College (GMC) from October 1896 onwards, Haffkine developed a prophylactic, which he had tried on himself, with a dosage four-times stronger than that which was later accepted as standard. The colonial government promoted the anti-plague vaccine as the alternative to the very unpopular interventionist measures enforced during the epidemic. In 1899, ...

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