Bacterial Transformation and the Origins of Epidemics in the Interwar Period: The Epidemiological Significance of Fred Griffith’s “Transforming Experiment”

@article{Mthot2016BacterialTA,
  title={Bacterial Transformation and the Origins of Epidemics 
in the Interwar Period: The Epidemiological Significance 
of Fred Griffith’s “Transforming Experiment”},
  author={Pierre-Olivier M{\'e}thot},
  journal={Journal of the History of Biology},
  year={2016},
  volume={49},
  pages={311-358}
}
Frederick Griffith (1879–1941) was an English bacteriologist at the Pathological Laboratory of the Ministry of Health in London who believed that progress in the epidemiology and control of infectious diseases would come only with more precise knowledge of the identity of the causative microorganisms. Over the years, Griffith developed and expanded a serological technique for identifying pathogenic microorganisms, which allowed the tracing of the sources of infectious disease outbreaks: slide… 
‘Birth, life, and death of infectious diseases’: Charles Nicolle (1866–1936) and the invention of medical ecology in France
TLDR
The present article reassesses the significance of parasitology for the “invention” of medical ecology in post-war France and shows that parasitologists such as Harant built on the works of medical geographers who had called attention to the dynamic and complex biological relations between health and environment in fashioning the field of medical Ecology in the mid-1950s.
From lighthouse to hothouse: hospital hygiene, antibiotics and the evolution of infectious disease, 1950–1990
  • C. Gradmann
  • Medicine
    History and philosophy of the life sciences
  • 2017
TLDR
It is argued that hospital hygiene, being inspired in particular by epidemiology and risk factor analysis, discussed its own specific version of disease emergence and therefore contributed to the 1980s debates around such topics.
Reconciling Pasteur and Darwin to control infectious diseases
TLDR
Following the historical thread of the works of Pasteur and Darwin shows how reconciling clinical microbiology, ecology, and evolution can be instrumental to understanding pathology, developing new therapies, and prolonging the efficiency of existing ones.
Role of Horizontal Gene Transfer in Bacteria
This paper documents an overview on the current knowledge of gene transfer in bacteria with emphasis on the role of horizontal gene transfer , in contrast to the numerous gaps in our understanding of
Petri dish versus Winogradsky column: a longue durée perspective on purity and diversity in microbiology, 1880s–1980s
  • M. Grote
  • Biology
    History and philosophy of the life sciences
  • 2017
TLDR
This paper outlines a revised longue durée historiography that takes its inspiration from artifacts, such as Petri dish and the Winogradsky column, and thereby simple, but influential technologies that often remain invisible, that enables the problem of historical continuity in modern science to be addressed and the accelerationist narratives of its development to be countered.
The Secret Lives of DNA
  • N. Sankaran
  • History
    Inference: International Review of Science
  • 2021
In Unravelling the Double Helix: The Lost Heroes of DNA, Gareth Williams traces the stories of scientists from the mid-nineteenth century onward as they were, in one way or another, involved in
The Historiography of Molecular Biology
  • M. Morange
  • Philosophy
    Handbook of the Historiography of Biology
  • 2021

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 132 REFERENCES
Emerging Disease and the Evolution of Virulence: The Case of the 1918–1919 Influenza Pandemic
TLDR
It is suggested that an evolutionary approach is necessary to understand the dynamics of disease transmission but that a broader understanding of virulence will ultimately benefit from articulating and integrating the ecological dynamics with cellular mechanisms of virulent disease.
Isolation, Contamination, and Pure Culture: Monomorphism and Polymorphism of Pathogenic Micro-Organisms as Research Problem 18601880
This article analyzes German debates on the microbiology of infectious diseases from 1865 to 1875 and asks howand when organic pollution in tis sues became noteworthy for aetiology and pathogenesis.
'Like all that lives': biology, medicine and bacteria in the age of Pasteur and Koch.
  • J. Mendelsohn
  • Biology
    History and philosophy of the life sciences
  • 2002
This essay draws a new picture of the science of bacteria in its 'golden age', circa 1880-1900: the organization of its knowledge and practice, its germ theory of disease, the difference between its
Past times: From pabulum to prions (via DNA): a tale of two Griffiths
TLDR
Fred Griffith's main scientific interest, which led to his discovery of bacterial transformation, stemmed from his earlier observations of the occurrence of multiple, serologically distinct pneumococcal types in individuals with lobar pneumonia, and proposed the novel notion that, “on a balance of probabilities, the interchangeability of type seems a no more unlikely hypothesis than multiple infection with four or five different and unalterable serological varieties of pneumococci.
Why do parasites harm their host? On the origin and legacy of Theobald Smith's "law of declining virulence"--1900-1980.
TLDR
The present study fills a gap in the history of disease transmission and ecology but also sheds light on the intermingled relationship between bacteriology, evolutionary biology, and public health in the past century.
Fred Neufeld and pneumococcal serotypes: foundations for the discovery of the transforming principle
TLDR
Fred Neufeld’s contributions in this development of pneumococcal transformation are described, which have remained largely unknown.
La métaphore vaccine. De l'inoculation à la vaccinologie
TLDR
The scientific factors accounting for why viruses played such a leading role in immunization are investigated and may explain how crude procedures of early immunizers shaped scientific ideologies and strategies of public health and finally initiated modem 'vaccinology'.
Adaptation or selection? Old issues and new stakes in the postwar debates over bacterial drug resistance.
  • A. Creager
  • Biology
    Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2007
[The vaccine metaphor. From inoculation to vaccination].
  • A. Moulin
  • Medicine
    History and philosophy of the life sciences
  • 1992
TLDR
The scientific factors accounting for why viruses played such a leading role in immunization are investigated and may explain how crude procedures of early immunizers shaped scientific ideologies and strategies of public health and family initiated modern 'vaccinology'.
...
...