Haffkine Institute

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The Haffkine Institute was established on 10, January, 1899 by Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine, an orthodox Jewish Russian scientist from the Pasteur Institute, that assigned him to work in India, then in the throes of major plague and cholera outbreaks. The Haffkine Institute is located in Parel in Mumbai (Bombay), India.

Haffkine is recognized as the microbiologist who first developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. In October 1896, an epidemic of bubonic plague struck Bombay (now Mumbai) and the government asked Haffkine to help. He embarked upon the development of a vaccine in a makeshift laboratory in a corridor of Grant Medical College. In three months of persistent work (one of his assistants experienced a nervous breakdown, two others quit), a form of vaccine was ready for human trials. On January 10, 1897[1] Haffkine tested it on himself.

The vaccines that Dr Haffkine prepared had remarkable results. The government of India built the Institute which it named after him, in recognition for his work and his dedication.

In 1975, the Institute was split into 2 organizations focused on research and vaccine production. The Haffkine Institute for Training [1], Research [2] and Testing [3] continues its works in the research, testing and training fields; whereas the Haffkine Bio-pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd.[4] is involved in the production of different medicinal drugs and vaccines.

The current research areas include studies of infections occurring in AIDS patients, improvement in the FMD vaccine, surveillance and microbiological analysis of typhoid, prevalence of drug resistance in bacteria, and continuous development of newer chemotherapeutic agents to combat microbial and zoonotic infections. The Institute also serves as a premier teaching institution in the field of biomedical sciences and is affiliated to the University of Bombay for M.Sc (Microbiology, Applied Biology & Organic Chemistry), Ph.D. (Microbiology) and M.D (P.S.M.) degree programs. In addition, the Institute undertakes specialized testing assignments/projects for pharmaceutical and other health-related products.


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