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Sample of Edward Jenner's hair, England, 1823

Edward Jenner (1749-1823) pioneered smallpox vaccination. In 1796 he successfully tested the theory that an attack of cowpox gave people immunity to smallpox. His results were published in 1798. This sample of hair was taken on the day he died – 26 January 1823.

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Glossary: human hair

used to define human remains as part of the NMSI/SMG human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human remains'

Glossary: memento

An object kept as a reminder or souvenir of a person or an event

Glossary: cowpox

Viral infection of cows' udders, transmitted to humans by direct contact, causing very mild symptoms similar to smallpox.

Glossary: immunity

The condition of being immune, the protection against infectious disease conferred either by the immune response generated by immunisation or previous infection or by other nonimmunologic factors.

Glossary: smallpox

Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.