Could vaccinations have stopped the spread of plague in medieval times?

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Question from Ros Denton

The deadly plague that killed a third of Europe was caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis. If the people of the 1300s had today’s technology they could indeed have created a vaccine. Scientists today have developed vaccinations against several strains of the Black Death. Lab trials of this vaccine had a success rate of 80 to 100 per cent.

You might think developing a plague vaccine now is too little too late, but having a treatment ready could prevent another widespread outbreak. Plague hasn’t been eradicated completely. Up to 3,000 people a year contract it to this day.


Answered by Amy Grisdale for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 136.

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