An unseen phenomenon unfolded before the eyes of peasants in the village of Pouilly-le-Fort near Paris. In May, the French microbiologist Pasteur obtained a flock of fifty sheep. As required by the rules of experimentation, he divided them into two equal groups – the test group and the reference group. The test group was vaccinated twice with a vaccine made from anthrax bacilli. Bacilli were cultured in chicken broth at 42 degrees Celsius for eight days rendering them harmless to a creature as susceptible as a guinea pig. On May 31, all fifty sheep from both groups were injected with classic anthrax. And two days later, a huge crowd of locals, visiting doctors and ubiquitous newspaper reporters witnessed a spectacular scientific trick: 25 doubly vaccinated rams looked cheerfully at the public as if nothing happened, whereas twenty-two animals in the reference group appeared dead and the remaining three were clearly preparing to depart. Pasteur’s method was still criticized after that but voices of critics subsided gradually.
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