Illustrated by Tokyo-based guest artist Tatsuro Kiuchi, the colourful doodle shows how the Japanese researcher’s vaccine helped save children’s lives and reduced the number of chickenpox cases around the world.
Google dedicates Doodle to Dr Michiaki Takahashi on his birthday
Google is celebrating the birth anniversary of Japanese virologist Dr Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the first vaccine against chickenpox. Takahashi’s vaccine has since been administered to millions of children around the world to prevent severe cases of the contagious viral disease and its transmission.
After being developed, the chickenpox vaccine was administered to millions of children around the world. It proved to be an effective measure to prevent severe cases of the contagious viral disease and its transmission.
Born in 1928 in Osaka, Dr Takahashi completed his studies from Osaka University and earned his medical degree. After his graduation, he joined the university’s Research Institute for Microbial Disease (RIMD) in 1959.
Dr Takahashi spent his days studying about measles and polio viruses. In 1963, he was given a research fellowship at Baylor College in the United States of America.
During this time, his son was suffering from a serious bout of chickenpox. The father’s traumatic experience nudged him to focus on combating the highly transmissible illness.
After two years, Dr Takahashi returned to Japan in 1965. He began culturing live but weakened chicken pox viruses in animal and human tissue. He dedicated five years to developing the vaccine and it was ready for clinical trials.
In 1974, the virologist had created the first vaccine that targeted the varicella virus which causes chickenpox. “It was subsequently subjected to rigorous research with immunosuppressed patients and was proven to be extremely effective,” the Goodle Doodle page said.
This became the only varicella vaccine that was approved by the World Health Organization.
In the next 12 year, RIMD began the rollout of the vaccine in Japan in 1986. The vaccine saved lives in over 80 countries.
In 1994, he became the Director of Osaka University’s Microbial Disease Study Group — a position he held until his retirement.