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The invention and the first application of the vaccination belongs to the Greek Doctors Emmanuel Timonis and Jacob Pylarinos and not to Dr. Edward Jenner
To: Professor of Virology, University of Connecticutt U.S.A.,

Mr. Stauros Kottaridis Ph.D.

Maximou Str. 9-11

145 62 Kifissia, Athens, Greece


Dear Mr. Kottaridis,


In your excellent article "Immunotherapy. Past, present, future" in the journal of Hellenic Anticancer Society " «Ογκολογική Ενημέρωση» "Information in Oncology", vol. 7 (1), 2005, pp.16-20, Dr. Edward Jenner, (1749-1823), is mentioned as the introducer of vaccination as a practice in preventive medicine: "In 1796 Jenner discovered that contamination by the virus cowpox develops immunity to contamination by virus of smallpox".

I would like to inform you that the first scientific application of the vaccination as a preventive method for diseases was applied by the Greek Physicians Emmanuel Timonis (1669-1720) from Chios island and Jacob Pylarinos (1659-1718) from Kefallonia island, who had studied medicine at the Universities of Italy. The results of their scientific application of the vaccination were published in the English well known journal "PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS", vol. 29, 1714-1716, pg. 72-82, titled "An account or History of the Procuring the SMALL POX by Incision or Inoculation; as it has for some time been practiced at Constantinople. Being the Extract of a Letter from Emanuel Timonius, Oxon. & Patav. M.D.SR.S. dated at Constantinople, December, 1713. Communicated to the Royal Society by John Woodward, M.D. Profes. Md. Gresh. And S.R.S" and pg. 393-399 titled "Nova et tuta Variolas excitandi per Transolantationem Methodus, nuper inventa et in usum tracta: Per Jacobum Pylarinum, Venetum M.D. et Peripublicae Venetae apud Smyrnenses nuper Consulem".

After its publication in the journal "Philosophical Transactions" and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's contribution of diffusion of the vaccination against smallpox, whose children had been vaccinated by Dr. Timonis in Constantinople, that method of vaccination was applied in Europe with good results. Especially Anastasios Georgiadis, professor later at the University of Athens (1837) in his book "Antipanakia", Vienna 1810, p. 46, states that after the application of the vaccination, Timonis and Pylarinus' method, smallpox's mortality, dropped to 0.3-0.5 %. Refer to Dr. Dem. Karaberopoulos, The medical European knowledge in the Greek region 1745-1821, Library on the History of Medicine, no 1, Publishing House Ath. Stamoulis, Athens 2003, p. 312.

In the significant French Encyclopedie of Diderot and D' Alambert, which started publishing in 1751, under the entry "inoculation" ( vol. 8, p. 755 and on) both Timonis and Pylarinos are mentioned. Also Adamantios Corais in the French edition William Black's History of Medicine (Esquisse d'un Histoire de la Medicine..., Paris 1798, pp. 361 and on) considers them as the introducers of inoculation, as also, they are mentioned in the book of J.M. Moreau, Traite Historique et Pratique de la Vaccine, Paris 1801, p.102.

In addition it is further mentioned, in the book of Leslie T. Morton and Robert J. Moore, A Chronology of Medicine and Related Sciences, Ashgate, reprinted in 1998, pg. 67 and 68 characteristically emphasized: "1714. Inoculation against smallpox, as practised in Constantinople, described by Emanuele Timoni" and "1715. Giacomo Pylarino, 1659-1718, is accredited with the "medical" discovery of variolation, in his Nova et tuta variolas excitandi per tranplantionem methodus he described its practise in Constantinople". Also in the book of Jeremy M. Norman (ed.), Morton's Medical Bibliography, fifth edition, Scolar Press, England, 1991, p. 838, stressed that Pylarinos is thought as the first immunologist: "He is accredited with the "medical" discovery of variolation and thus is the first immunologist".

It is further added that in the Proceedings of Athens Academy, vol. 27, 1952, pg. 287-307, Pylarinos’ work of 1715 was published in Latin with parallel translation in Greek by K. N. Alivizatos and G.K. Pournaropoulos.

It is pointed out that Timonis and Pylarinos' method of vaccination (variolation) of 1714 for smallpox’s protection after a few decades, in 1798, was modified by Dr. Edward Jenner. He took the liquid for vaccination of children not from smallpox infected men's vesicle, as the introducers of vaccination Timonis and Pylarinos applied, but from cow-pox’s vesicles and his method had better results.

However the first scientific application of the vaccination as a protection method against diseases belongs to the Greek physicians Emanuel Timonis and Jacob Pylarinos, who is considered as the first immunologist. In addition their studies are the only Greek research contribution in medicine, which took place in the Greek area, after that of the famous ancient Greek doctors.

Having provided you with the above references I strongly feel that the Greek doctors Timonis and Pylarinos should be mentioned as the introducers of the scientific practice of vaccination for the protection from infectious diseases.


Yours sincerely


Dr. Dem. Karaberopoulos

President of the Hellenic Society

on the History of Pediatrics

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