Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

Pox expert

Frank Fenner

A physician, Fenner served in the Australian Army Medical Corps as a malaria specialist in World War II. After the war, he researched viruses, especially the varieties of pox (he coined the term “mousepox” for the strain that infected mice) and myxoma. He realized the myxoma virus was especially lethal to rabbits, and that virus was released in the wild to get Australia’s plague of rabbits under control. (To prove that was safe for humans, Fenner and two colleagues injected each other with the virus.) “I was able to follow the way in which the virus changed to become less virulent, allowing some rabbits to survive,” he said later. “And those that survived were genetically more resistant, which they then passed on to successive generations. You got this interchange, this balance between virus virulence and host resistance. This was evolution before our eyes.” Fenner’s early interest in pox led to him being recruited for the final push against smallpox, which killed 300-500 million people in the 20th century and was a leading cause of blindness. A world eradication program had been started in the late 1950s, but smallpox proved difficult to stop completely. He first started as a consultant to the eradication effort, and later he chaired the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication, which was finally able to confirm the disease was gone from the wild. The World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated in 1979 — the first infectious disease to be completely wiped out. “If you want to protect children from the vast number of infectious diseases,” Fenner advised, “vaccination is by far the best way to do it. If on the other hand, you wish to act against overpopulation, don’t vaccinate anyone, including your own children.” Dr. Fenner died November 22, at 95.

From This is True for 28 November 2010


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

About the HUs
About This is True

Subscribe Free
to This is True
Your E-mail:


Oldest: Memory savior Miep Gies

Newest: Communications visionary Vanu Bose


Complete Name List

Prev: Illuminated physicist Gertrude Neumark Rothschild

Next: “Green Nobel Prize” founder Richard N. Goldman

Complete Name List

Copyright 1998-2017 ThisIsTrue.Inc, all rights reserved. May not be copied or archived without express, prior, written permission. "This is True" is a registered trademark of ThisIsTrue.Inc, Ridgway Colorado.