History of Medicine Section, Wednesday 5th June 2019

05/06/2019 in Winter Hall, RCPI, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

The Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the History of Medicine Section of RAMI invite you to a talk.

Plagues and Imperialism: the Birth of Clinical Trials in Late 19th Century India

George Davey Smith MD, DSc, FRCP, FRS, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol

Wednesday 5th June 2019, at 6.30pm

Venue: Winter Hall, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2


Before RCTs a longer tradition of conscious attempts to obtain unbiased evidence of treatment and prevention efficacy involved alternate allocation – when every second patient is provided with active treatment. Studies using this approach were introduced in late 19th century Imperial India, initially for cholera vaccination in prisons. Waldemar Haffkine, an émigré Russian Jew, following political and religious persecution, developed the vaccine in the Pasteur Institute. Plague arrived in India, and Haffkine tested both vaccination to prevent,  and serum treatment of, this disease. Trials by Haffkine and others continued in prisons, other institutions and hospitals, against a background of riots and civil unrest. Putative reasons for the rise and fall of alternate allocation trials will be presented.

Admission is free but please register at HistMedPlagues2019

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