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January 11, 1941


JAMA. 1941;116(2):143. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820020053016

The new vaccine against influenza recently described by Horsfall and Lennette1 of the Rockefeller Foundation challenges conventional immunologic theory. The vaccine seems to have been a purely accidental discovery. About a year ago, numerous normal ferrets were inoculated intranasally in the Rockefeller Foundation laboratory with the 1939 strain of human influenza virus. During the course of the resulting influenza, four of these animals developed a concurrent infection with ferret distemper. In order to prevent the spread of this epizootic to the stock animals, a formalized vaccine was prepared from the lungs and spleens of these ferrets and injected subcutaneously into each of the 157 normal animals of the ferret colony. Similar vaccines had been found effective in preventing the spread of ferret distemper on previous occasions. Two days after inoculation with this presumptive distemper vaccine, groups of the vaccinated ferrets were inoculated intranasally with massive doses of three antigenically