[back] Vaccine 'lymph'
[Extract from 1912 book] LEICESTER: SANITATION versus VACCINATION BY J.T. BIGGS J.P.
CHAPTER 100: How " Glycerinated Calf Lymph " is "Manufactured."
Following this introduction comes Dr. Copeman's report. He starts with Paris, and, after describing the many precautions taken, one of which is "to prevent the calves from being able to lick the inoculated area of their body," and another to keep the straw bed "free from urine," for which reason "only cow-calves are employed," of a special breed, informs us that they are weaned at the age of two months, cost 147 francs, and are re-sold to butchers at a loss of 30 to 40 francs each. Dr. Copeman says "tuberculin is not employed," as, if signs of tuberculosis are found, the "lymph" is destroyed. There is, undoubtedly, a wide open door for disaster here.
The calf is strapped to a tilting table, the right side being:
" thoroughly scrubbed with soap and hot water, and then shaved. ... A number of superficial incisions (about 100), each about one inch long, are then made in ... several rows . . . en echelon. The lancet employed for the purpose has a spear-headed blade. . . . Over each incision a drop of glycerinated lymph is allowed to fall from a glass tube, and the drop is rubbed in with the flat portion of the blade of the lancet. The process is carried out by one of the laboratory servants, and is a somewhat lengthy one, "When the ' lymph' has dried, the calf is removed from the table and taken back to its stall.
The vaccine material is always collected on the sixth day. The calf is once more placed on the table ; or, if material is required for immediate use only, it is usually allowed to stand. The vaccinated area is washed with warm water, and dried with clean soft cloths. Each vesicle is now clamped separately, and the crust first removed with a lancet, which is then wiped on a cloth pinned to the front of the cotton blouse which the operator has previously donned.
The vesicle is then thoroughly scraped with the edge of a somewhat blunt lancet, and the resultant mixture of lymph, epithelial tissue (skin), and blood is transferred to a small nickel crucible set in a wide wooden stand on a table close to the operator.
To the pultaceous (gruelly) mass contained in the crucible there is added about an equal quantity of glycerine.
The mixture of pulp and glycerine is triturated in a mixing machine . . . driven by a small electric motor.
The mixture, having thus been rendered thin and homogeneous, is received in a clean sterilised nickel crucible placed beneath the machine, but with a view of still further improving its appearance and of removing any extraneous matters, such as hairs, it is afterwards pressed through a small brass-wire sieve consisting of extremely fine gauze into an agate mortar. This is done by means of a bone spoon, and there is left on the surface of the gauze nothing but a very small quantity of epithelial tissue together with a few hairs. The mixture is further triturated in the mortar with an agate pestle, and is then ready for filling into the tubes in which it is distributed."
What dreadful agony the poor animals must suffer for the three-quarters of an hour occupied by this process of "clamping," etc. ! But even this torture is exceeded by the " calf-to-arm " process, as described in the Report, in which " compression forceps" and "lancets" for "scraping" are used for each separate operation.
We are told that, before the mixing process, "no accurate measurement of the quantity" of "lymph" is made, so that after all the scientific research expended upon it, it is somewhat of a haphazard business.
Two samples of this "lymph" were brought to England, and Dr. Cory vaccinated 96 children from one, and 27 children from the other.
At Brussels, bull-calves "are used exclusively, Dr. Degive believing that the finest vesicles are obtained on the scrotum."
A sample of this Brussels " lymph" was brought away, but as it "was used for certain bacteriological investigations," there is no record as to its success for the purposes of vaccination."
At Berlin, cow-calves are used. The incisions are made with a blunt knife, so as to draw as little blood as possible."
When the "lymph" is collected, "absolute alcohol is poured over the vaccinated area." After this has evaporated, "the surface is treated with ether . . . the skin is put on the stretch and scraped . . . with a sharp spoon."
The relative proportions of the precious final product are :—
"Epithelial pulp 1 part ( 6.70 per cent.)
"Glycerine -7 parts (46.65 per cent.)
"Boiled water - 7 parts" (46.65 per cent.)
After use, the calves are said to be sold to the Jewish Rabbi, to be slaughtered for human food. Some of this "lymph " was brought home, and 109 children were vaccinated by Dr. Cory at four different periods, resulting in percentages of success varying from 67.5 to 97.1. After keeping for six months, its activity "had practically disappeared."
At Dresden, "by preference" they use cow-calves of from six to eight weeks old. These animals are hired from a dealer for 20 marks each, and are returned to him after the "lymph " has been removed. " The pulp is collected by scraping" with a spoon, but as they scrape "the same surface again and again, a not inconsiderable amount of blood becomes mixed with the epithelial scrapings." Some of this precious "pulp," obtained with such infinity of torture and cruelty, was brought to England, and Dr. Cory vaccinated 15 children with five insertions each, and all gave a satisfactory result.
At Cologne, similarly cruel operations are carried on, but here the calves are mercifully killed before the "lymph pulp" is collected, so that this "lymph " is taken from a dead animal, which is immediately sent into the market, and sold for man's consumption !
The "finished emulsion "—removed by a sharp spoon—is composed as follows :—
Pulp - 5 grammes ( 6.25 per cent.)
Water - 25 grammes (31.25 per cent.)
Glycerine 50 grammes" (62.50 per cent.)
A sample of this valuable "emulsion," obtained from the dead carcass of an animal," was actually brought to England, and Dr. Cory vaccinated two groups, in all 55 children, " with an insertion-success of 93.3 to 98.8 per cent."
At Geneva, after being tortured in a similar manner, the calves are sold at a loss of about £1 on each animal. "Any blood which exudes" from the sores is wiped off, and then " the vesicle pulp is removed by scraping with a sharp spoon." Glycerine and water are added " for attaining the following standard " :—
"Vesicle pulp - 1 part (25 per cent.)
"Glycerine - - 2 parts (50 per cent.)
"Water - - 1 part" (25 per cent.)
After trituration, the "resulting emulsion" is used for human vaccinations, and the "seed material" for the vaccination of calves. "Occasionally clamp forceps" are brought into action. The " crust" being first removed, the vesicle is " gently (?) scraped with a lancet" !