Biology

Dr. Ronald Ross – Story of Discovery of Malaria Vaccine

Dr. Ronald Ross was a military doctor, who did his research extensively on malaria for 16 years (1881-1897) in India. He finally discovered malaria causative microbes in female anopheles mosquito which fed on malaria infected patient. He found the route map of malaria disease. For that he got Noble Prize in 1902.
All of us know about Malarial fever. We frequently talk about this fever. The study of the mosquito causing malarial fever was done alone by the scientist Ronald Ross. A remarkable part of the study was carried out at Secundrabad. He expressed his experiences in his lecture at Noble prize presentation ceremony . I reached India in 1895 and found myself appointed as a medical officer ofregiment of native soldiers at Secundrabad and many were suffering from malarial fever. Asurvey was immediately made of the malarial parasites existing among these men and I found myself able to confine for India. At the same time the mosquitoes which abounded in the barracks and hospital. Before leaving England I had made many attempts to obtain literature on mosquitoes especially the Indian ones, but without much success Consequently I was forced to rely entirely on my own observations; and I noted that the various species of mosquitoes of the locality belonged to two different groups, separated by many traits, and called these groups for my convenience, brindled mosquitoes and grey mosquitoes.
It was until 1897 that I clearly recognized a third group which called spotted winged mosquitoes”……….
Ronald Ross was born on 13 May 1857 at Almora in present state in our India. His father was an Army Major. At age of 8 years young Ronald was sent to England for his education. He was interested in painting and mathematics. He wanted to settle down as a painter. But, on his father’s insistence he selected medical carreer. After completing his medicine, he joined in Indian Military Academy in 1881. While he was studying medicine he faced a malaria patient. Hetreated many patients of malaria with quinine and cured it. But many people died of malaria because they failed to get treatment.
While he was working at Bangalore, he was allotted a bungalow. He was pleased to live in it but was irritated by the large number of mosquitoes. He noticed that there were more number of mosquitoes in his bungalow than in any other. He keenly observed that a barrel with water was full of mosquito larvae. Ross removed the water from the barrel and found that the number of mosquitoes got reduced. Then he started in thinking that if water was removed from the place it might be possible to eliminate them completely. Ross noted that malaria killed more than one million people in India. So he became interested in malaria, one of the important tropical diseases occurring in India.
Ronald Ross Done Significant Discovery on Malaria in this Building at Secunderabad in 1897
After working 7 years in India he went back to England. He did his diploma in microscopic techniques. He met Dr. Patrick Manson who guided him throughout his research. He was with him through thick and thin. Patric Manson shared his proposed theory (hypothesis) that mosquitoes carry malaria as they carry filaria. This was to change Ross’s life forever. He proposed that mosquitoes were carrying flagellated spores in their stomach. The mosquitoes died laying their eggs. The “flagellated spores” emerged into the water, ready to infect anyone who drank the water. Ronald Ross tried on this hypothesis. But he came to a conclusion that water would not cause malaria infection.
Ross was discouraged by the above reasons. But Patric Manson encouraged Ross not to give up his work and advised that malaria parasite germs would not go for no purpose, in a mosquito’s body. Ross then hypothesised that the malaria disease is communicated by the bite of the mosquito which injects a small quantity. Parasites may enter in this manner into the human system To test this hypothesis Ross allowed mosquitoes that had fed on malaria patient to bite a healthy man. But the healthy man was not infected. Repeated the experiment again and again and failed. Unfortunately he was using Culex mosquitoes in his experiment, which do not transmit malaria. This fact came to light a little later.One day his attention was drawn to a different mosquito on a wall inthat was sitting  a peculiar posture and he called it as “dappled-wing” mosquito.  He was inspired again.He knew that only one species is capable ofcarrying Manson also Filariasis. Dr. Patric  suggested him that a particular mosquito species might be the reason for the plasmodium Ross suddenly realised that he had used the wrong species of mosquitoes in his experiment. He returned to Secunderabad in June 1
e commenced work by making a careful survey ofthe various kinds of mosquitoes. He continued his
study by examining the dissected mosquitoes under microscope, after feeding on malaria patients.
Almost every cell was examined under the microscope.
Ross rough drawings and notes about what he observed
On the 15th August, 1897 his assistant brought some larvae, many of which hatched out next day and among them he found several dappled-winge mosquitoes. Delighted with this capture, on August 16th, he fed them on his malaria patient Hussein Khan with crescents in his blood. On 17th he dissected two these mosquitoes but found nothing unusual. On the 19th he killed another and found some peculiar vacuolated cells in the stomach about 10 microns in diameter.
August 20th 1897 he found a clear and circular outlines about 12 micron diamete On  cells, each containing a type of cell, black pigmented one. He made rough drawing cell  in his note books. At last by this way Ross discovered the route map of malaria infected patients blood to mosquito stomach to salivary glands to infect into a healthy person. So we celebrate August 20th World Malaria day. He had done his experiments on malaria in birds also with his assistant named Mohammed Bux.

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