Medicine through time

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What factors enabled the revolution in understanding about germs and vaccinations to take place?

Learning Outcomes:

To identify the changes that took place in ideas about the cause of disease as a result of the discovery of germ theory, and to explain why this contributed to the development of more effective treatments (vaccinations).
To identify the factors (role of individual, government, scientific method etc) that enabled this revolution in medical knowledge to take place.



Read this short page about Germ Theory and these biographies of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Using the information on these pages, create an interactive timeline (using the timeline generator on showing how the development of Germ Theory led to the introduction of vaccines for numerous diseases.

Now consider the different factors that led to the discovery of Germ Theory and the improvements that followed its acceptance.

Referring to the information on your timeline and on the pages you have already read through, complete this interactive diagram (from

Further information about Pasteur and Germ Theory can be found on these sites:

Pasteur from BBC History and on Pasteur and Koch.

Our own pages on Pasteur, Koch and the fight against infectious diseases.

Remember - the development of vaccines was not the end of the battle against diseases. There have been many subsequent improvements in terms of developing immunology and drugs that tackle various diseases. See the infectious disease section of the main part of this website for further details. In the meantime, why not play the immune system defender game created by the Nobel Foundation.





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