• Authors: Korobkina N.P.1, Maslikova M.O.1
  • Affiliations:
    1. Saratov State Medical University named after V.I. Razumovsky
  • Pages: 100-102
  • URL: https://new.vestnik-surgery.com/index.php/2415-7805/article/view/7567

Cite item


This article is devoted to the consideration of the impact of pandemics and epidemics on the development of medicine. The author of the article, using the example of various epidemics, substantiates the opinion that in the conditions of a pandemic, the development of medicine is faster, and the discoveries made at this time can serve humanity for many centuries.

Full Text

In our culture there is a proverb "There would be no happiness, but misfortune would help." In many ways, it can be applied to the problem that our article is devoted to. It will focus on the impact of pandemics and epidemics on the development of medicine.
Pandemic and epidemic are mass manifestations of the disease. These two concepts differ in the scale of morbidity. Thus, an epidemic is a massive and progressive spread of an infectious disease within a certain territory, significantly exceeding the usually recorded incidence rate for the same period. But a pandemic is an epidemic that has spread in a number of countries and significantly exceeds in its intensity the epidemics that are common for a given area and given conditions.
The purpose of our article is a brief review of the impact of pandemics on medical progress.
The topic of the development of medicine in the context of a pandemic is currently relevant, since the world is in the context of a coronavirus pandemic.

In the conditions of epidemics and pandemics, an exorbitant burden falls on medical organizations: the number of sick people is growing exponentially every day, the disease is spreading to an ever wider territory if the contacts of sick people with others are not limited in time. Such mass diseases lead to the death of a large number of people and are rightfully perceived as real tragedies.The most terrible thing during a pandemic may be the shortage or lack of medicines that can fight the disease. Therefore, drug development in a relatively calm time from an epidemiological point of view differs significantly from such development during a pandemic.As an example, let's give the discovery of Edward Jenner described by D.Y. Fatkin. One of the most terrible diseases of the past centuries – smallpox – or rather, the fight against it, led to a medical breakthrough – the creation of vaccines. In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner successfully vaccinated a child. Smallpox is the world's first infectious disease completely defeated by mass vaccination. It was the British who were the first Europeans to vaccinate infants: since 1853, all three-month-old residents of Great Britain were subject to mandatory vaccination against smallpox.The storm of Medieval Europe – the plague – also forced scientists to try and find ways to combat the disease by trial and error. Quarantine, self-isolation, general cleaning were introduced, medical institutions were created. In 1894, the plague bacillus was discovered, which became a landmark event for the entire medical science.The coronavirus pandemic, which began in 2020, also gave a huge boost to the development of virology. In just a few months, scientists from different countries have created medicines that can cope with the disease that has claimed the lives of thousands of people around the world, as well as invented vaccines that help prevent the spread of the disease.Pandemics and epidemics also force a review of the very structure of medical care. The usual procedure for calling a doctor at home appeared precisely as a result of the plague epidemic in Europe in the XIV century, when it became obvious that the patient should be isolated: plague doctors went to patients themselves so that they did not leave the house and did not spread the disease further. The same plague epidemic led to the idea that all visitors from other cities and regions should be isolated – quarantined.Medieval cities were a hotbed of diseases, because the streets were not cleaned on them, garbage was thrown right out of the windows, and sewage often flowed into rivers. Visiting the baths was not a mandatory requirement for the hygiene of a medieval person. All this led to the fact that any disease covered the whole city in a matter of days. Therefore, it was the fight against diseases that gave rise to those hygienic procedures that even a preschooler knows about today – regular bathing, washing, washing hands before eating, cleaning streets and premises, water purification, creating waste disposal services, etc. Any pandemic contributes to the expansion of the network of medical institutions, advanced training of doctors, and improvement of medical equipment.In addition, it was the epidemics that triggered the development of secular medicine in general. Previously, the care of the body was the prerogative of the church, and the treatment of the sick was often carried out in monasteries. The clergy often did not take into account the achievements of secular science, attributing the appearance of diseases to human sinfulness.Epidemics, despite their negative potential, have a positive impact on the development of scientific research, contribute to the identification of catastrophic problems in people's way of life, allow scientists to correct mistakes, refute incorrect theories, make new discoveries, develop technologies, strengthen the authority of science and trust in medicine.


About the authors

Natalya P. Korobkina

Saratov State Medical University named after V.I. Razumovsky

Email: korobkina_2001@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7829-764X
Russian Federation, Russia, Saratov,st. Bolshaya Kazachya, 112

Marina O. Maslikova

Saratov State Medical University named after V.I. Razumovsky

Author for correspondence.
Email: masl.marina@icloud.com
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0615-0697
Russian Federation, Russia, Saratov,st. Bolshaya Kazachya, 112


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