The French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) began experimenting with attenuated vaccines, including one against rabies, in about 1880 and in 1885 had the opportunity to test his vaccine on a young boy, Joseph Meister. Pasteur's achievement was remarkable, conducted half a century before the virus was isolated and visualized by electron microscopic analysis. His attenuated vaccine regimen required multiple subcutaneous abdominal injections, a prolonged and painful experience. Human diploid cell vaccines were introduced in 1967 and are safer but more costly. No one dared to attempt a randomized trial of alternative regimens until the development in the early 1990s of genetically engineered vaccines (human diploid cell vaccine). Both postexposure and prophylactic vaccines are available.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.