Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 138th birthday of Rudolf Weigl, the Polish biologist and inventor of the typhus vaccine. 

Life of Rudolf Weigel 

Rudolf Weigel was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on September 2, 1883. Today he is 138 years old. Early in his life, Weigel lost his father in a bicycle accident, and his mother remarried and the family moved to Lviv, a city that was part of Poland at the time. In 1907, he received a degree in biology from the University of Lviv, followed by a doctorate degree in comparative anatomy, histology, and zoology by Weigel. 
In 1914, shortly after the start of the First World War, Rudolf Weigel was enlisted to join the Austro-Hungarian army, where he conducted medical research as a parasitologist. It was during this time that Weigel began his research on epidemic typhus, a disease that generally broke out during wars and civil strife, just as the world was experiencing it at the time. Typhus is already raging in Poland, and the war will only make the situation worse and spread to other countries. 
Lice have been found to be the main disease carriers of this particularly deadly type of typhus, Weigl has focused on the lice themselves. By developing a method for deliberately planting lice and adapting them, Weigl was able to develop an effective vaccine for this type of typhus. 
The first dose of the typhus vaccine was administered to patients in 1936. Although the vaccine does not prevent the recipient from being infected, it makes the symptoms of the disease milder and therefore less fatal. 
During the German occupation of Poland during World War II, the Nazi regime forced Rudolf Weigel to increase vaccine production on a large scale at the newly established Typhus and Virus Institute. For this, Weigel needed to hire about 1,000 people, and in order to fight the Nazis in his own way, he hired people he knew were at risk of persecution. In addition, the institute’s vaccines were also smuggled to dangerous places such as concentration camps. 
Weigel finally retired in 1951 after a long and historic career in medicine. Six years later, he died on August 11, 1957. 

Rudolf Weigl Google Doodle

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In today’s Google Doodle, you can see Rudolf Weigl’s efforts to produce illustrations of a batch of typhus vaccines, as well as renderings of a large number of necessary lice. In the foreground, a microscope, some beakers, and other chemical equipment together spell out “Google” and make it a suitable Google doodle.

 

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