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

(Image source: Pixabay)

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.

To feature in our Brain Dump section, send us your questions to [email protected] or message us on Facebook or Twitter

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!