1890 - 1980; 1900 - 1988; 1915 - 1999

Pertussis vaccine

Whooping cough, known as pertussis, is a respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It can difficult breathing and even lead to death.

Around the 1940s, the bacteriologist Pearl Louella Kendrick and the public health scientist Grace Eldering developed a vaccine for pertussis. While this was promising, its initial efficacy was lower than expected. The chemist Loney Clinton Gordon joined their team and isolated a very virulent strain of the bacteria, which improved the initial vaccine. Subsequently, they combined the pertussis vaccine with the ones for diphtheria and tetanus.

Nowadays, many children are vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis around the world.

Written by: Enriqueta Vallejo-Yagüe.