The Google search engine’s Doodle artwork today honours Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, the Japanese virologist who developed the first chickenpox vaccine. Takahashi’s vaccine, which has been administered to millions of children worldwide, is an effective measure for preventing severe cases of contagious viral disease and its transmission.
Tatsuro Kiuchi, a guest artist from Japan, created today’s Google Doodle. Tatsuro Kiuchi, who created this Doodle, explained that he learned that vaccines can defeat a highly contagious disease and change the world.
Takahashi, who was born in 1928, received his medical degree from Osaka University and joined the Research Institute for Microbial Disease in 1959. He studied measles and polio viruses and accepted a research fellowship at Baylor College in the United States in 1963. During this time, Takahashi’s son contracted chickenpox, prompting the Japanese researcher to focus his expertise on combating the highly contagious disease.
Takahashi created the varicella vaccine by growing live but weakened chickenpox viruses in animal and human tissue. During the subsequent, rigorous research with immunocompromised patients, the vaccine was shown to be extremely effective. The only WHO-approved varicella vaccine, the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases, began vaccine distribution in Japan in 1986.
Later, he was named director of Osaka University’s Microbial Disease Study Group, a position he held until his retirement.