- Chickenpox is caused by the virus named Varicella zoster virus.
- Virologist Takahashi developed the chickenpox vaccine.
- Varicella is the same virus that causes Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
- Virologist Takahashi Died on December 16, 2013, at the age of 85.
During the 1970s, a dread disease crossed the town and made people suffer. Yes, it was chickenpox that affected children-adults in all groups. Michiaki Takahashi became aware of this disease and began developing vaccines. The reason that led to this development of the vaccine was his eldest son Teruyuki.
Chickenpox is caused by the virus named Varicella zoster. At the time, it infects young children, causing an itchy or painful rash, which gradually evolves into a lump. Other noted symptoms occur in the forms of fevers, headaches, and fatigue. Furthermore, Varicella zoster also causes another illness, called shingles. While chickenpox is usually a childhood illness, shingles most often strike older adults. Yet another disease that’s occurring because of this dormant virus is the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Moreover, the symptoms of the diseases most preferably remain the same. If it wasn’t for the dedication of Virologist Takahashi, the chickenpox vaccines wouldn’t have been made.
Dr. Michiaki Takahashi was born in Osaka and completed his graduate degree from Osaka Medical University in poxvirus virology. Instantly completing the degree in 1959, he joined the University’s Research Institute for Microbial Disease (RIMD). A year later, in 1963, Michiaki Takahashi received a research fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. At the same time, he also attended the Research Institute of Temple University in Philadelphia.
It was in 1965 that Dr. Takahashi returned to Japan. In those periods when he saw his son suffer from chickenpox. After a while of staying with his son in the US and returning to Japan, Michiaki Takahashi devoted his time to studying chickenpox and developing vaccines. After nine years of research and information, in 1973, Michiaki developed the Vaccines. Before Virologist Takahashi came into the picture, millions of children had been suffering from dread pox. In case the availability of equipment was rare. For his part, the research was a rigorous process that Dr. Takahashi performed in a series of cell cultures from humans to pigs until breeding the weaker version. In 1974 trials for the vaccines began and were certified by WHO in 1984. Likewise, after two years, in 1986, the general public of Japan got the available stocks of Vaccines.
After that, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare approved it for practical use among countries. The vaccine got available to the US public in 1995. Since then, it’s been used effectively.
According to the CDC reports that each year 3.5 million+ cases of chickenpox are treatable from vaccines. Additionally, 9,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths are preventable using chickenpox vaccination in the United States. By 2005, chickenpox cases nationwide had dropped by about 90%, reports Forbes.
We might have remembered him but might have forgotten him. Soon it will be known that his legacy remains there among Japanese people. After 18 years from 1986, The Japanese Society for Vaccinology Takahashi Prize was founded by the Japanese Society for Vaccinology in 2005. It’s an annual prize presented to everyone.
Yes, if it wasn’t for the Google doodles, people might have not gotten to read about the legacy of Virologist Takahashi once more. Yes, in February 2022, Tokyo-based artist Tatsuro Kiuchi illustrated doodles of Takahashi. It honored Takahashi on his 94th birthday.