Biography of Jaime Ferrán Clúa (1852-1929)

Spanish doctor born in Corbera de Ebro (Tarragona) in 1852 and died in Barcelona in 1929. Son of a rural doctor, obtained a degree in medicine from the University of Barcelona in 1873. After a brief stint in Pla de Penedes, he/she settled in Tortosa, where he/she worked as a physician and ophthalmologist, collaborating with his friend, the chemical Pauli innocent, under the influence of the astronomer and geologist José Joaquín Landerer.

His works of that time include a few studies on phone that allowed him to, in 1878, homebuilt devices achieve a telephone communication between Tortosa and Tarragona, only two years after the first communication of Graham Bell. Greater attention devoted then Ferran and Pauli to photography. In 1879 published an instant procedure based on an emulsion of silver and gelatin bromide, that years later would motivate a loud fight between Kodak and Young firms. They also conducted research on photographic means coal and oily inks, which proved useful in his later work.

Ferran interest in microbiology was initially due to his admiration for the work of Pasteur, whose work was able to study in the library of Landerer, especially those published in the Comptes Rendus of the Academy of Sciences in Paris. Microscope petrographer which had the own Landerer did make their first practical test in 1880, which then continued with another purchased in Paris. Soon became a skilled microbiologist, who managed to prepare vaccines against anthrax and evil red pig. In 1884 the Royal Medicine Academy of Madrid awarded his report on bacterial parasitism.

The same year he/she was appointed member of a Commission to the City Council of Barcelona sent to Marseille, with reason of having triggered the anger in the South of France. In collaboration with Pauli, who moved to the coast, he/she worked in hospitals for angry of Marseille and Toulon to isolate and cultivate the Vibrio Robet Koch had described months earlier. The next step was the development of a vaccine from living germs; on his return to Tortosa, thanks to a virulent crop of cholera Vibrio, Ferran could cause an experimental cholera in a Guinea pig and check the immunizing action that caused her shot. This was the basis of its vaccine cholera, consisting of the subcutaneous injection of live germs which at the beginning was considered preferable to immunization with attenuated or killed vibrios. After attempting to apply himself and a number of volunteers, he/she reported his discovery to the Paris Academy of Sciences, in March 1885. On the occasion of a cholera epidemic in Valencia, we proceeded to a first mass vaccination (vaccinated more than fifty thousand people), which meant the emergence of huge dissensions within the scientific community; Suffice it to say that they attended Valencia half a dozen Spanish commissions and a large number of commissions and foreign scientific personalities, as well as correspondents of all the world's press.

One aspect of this controversy that should be separated is the relative to his hypothesis about the biological cycle of Vibrio. In principle, it is explainable to Ferran tried to follow the same approach which had led to Koch to discover the role of the spores in the etiology of anthrax and even that relating cholera Vibrio with Peronosporaceae, then in the foreground in the micrograph environment. Less reasonable was to propose a Baroque cycle which called Peronospora barcelonae, splitting of spiral filaments and spores to reach "muriform bodies" and "oosferas", although it can be understood as the imaginative hypothesis of a young and ambitious scientist. The moment in which Ferran collided frontally with the scientific community's own behavior patterns was, however, when he/she failed to fit the critique of his hypothesis that, in May 1885, made her own Koch, emphasizing that rested on a misinterpretation of involutive forms, on the line which then other researchers followedincluding Santiago Ramon y Cajal, friend of his at that time.

As we have made strides, the controversy began in Valencia, but almost immediately spread to the rest of Spain and the international scientific community. The factors that influenced it were very complex. First, came to spin an ideological polarization parallel to the caused by scientific as Darwinism theories or technical innovations like the Peral submarine: in principle, "ferranista" was synonymous with liberal or progressive, and "antiferranista" of conservative or inmovilista. This polarization is intertwined not always easily with the attitude of physicians and scientists of the time before the germ theory of infection. Those who did not admit it fought, of course, among the opponents of vaccination, as it happened, just to mention a prominent example, with the Committee of the Royal Society and the University of Cambridge, who did not accept that the cholera Vibrio was the causative agent of cholera. A third factor that further enmarañó the problem was the mentality of scientific imperialism, which reached its culmination in the report of the French Commission presided over by the medicolegista Paul Brouardel, which was limited to express their prejudices without bothering to gather minimal information.

The approaches of Ferran scientific critical authentic had to deal with all of these factors as with enthusiastic accession that their contributions had been aroused, not only in Spain, but in France, Britain, Germany and other European countries. This task can be exemplified in Spanish Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Eduardo García Sola reports and objective and rigorous analysis of the French Jean B. A. Chauveau and American Edward O. Shakespeare. Apart from refuting the life cycle of the so-called Peronospora barcelonae, insisted on the need for rigorous and comprehensive statistics to verify the prophylactic value of the vaccine, another definite limitations of Ferran and his collaborators. However, it should be recalled that the first cholera vaccination really valid statistical controls were not carried out until the middle of the 20th century and that, on the other hand, George H. Bornside has recently demonstrated the efficacy of vaccination Ferran from 1885 through post-hoc statistical data at the time of analysis.

At the beginning of this century, largely overcome the conditioning factors of the controversy, the international scientific community recognized that 1885 cholera vaccination had been an important milestone in the history of public health. The Paris Academy of Sciences awarded Ferran Breant Prize in 1907 and foremost specialists in Bacteriology and Immunology, starting with top figures such as Pierre Roux and Paul Ehrlich, saw it as the first which had shown "the pathogenic action of cholera Vibrio in animals and that these can be immunized," attributed le the initiative of "preventive immunization against cholera man" and described it as "the scientist who has succeeded in the first place effective immunization of man by bacteria".

However, the serious limitations of the contribution of Ferran are also undeniable. A daring, close sometimes to the lightness and even irresponsibility, led him to endanger human lives without appropriate safeguards and defend, for some time, a fantastic morphology of Vibrio or picturesque preventive measures. On the other hand, committed the unforgivable mistake of trying to keep the "secret" of its vaccine to exploit it commercially.

The two conflicting sides of the personality of Ferran also influenced his later work as a microbiologist. By his initiative, the Barcelona City Council created a Municipal microbiological laboratory in as early as 1887. The own Ferran, with the explicit approval of Pasteur, was the first director of the new Center, which were incorporated as partners innocent Pauli, Luis Comenge and Ramón Turró, among others. After numerous incidents, eventually being removed in 1906, due to his never vain and abuses, which attempted to be exaggerated by the attitude of States and interested enmity of Turró, who succeeded him in office.

Thereafter he/she took refuge in his private laboratory, which he/she called "Ferran Institute", where he/she made various contributions in the development of vaccines against typhus; Ferran was the first who prepared and applied the anti-typhoid vaccine on himself and several workers from the sewers of Barcelona (1887), but interrupted his work on the issue without reaching substantiate them rigorously.

On the other hand, it was among the few European bacteriologists who worked on the experimental diphtheria immunization before the discovery of serum by Emil Adolf von Gehring and Shibasaburo Kitasato (1890). Also contributed to the study of the tetanus Bacillus (1898) and the plague, the latter due to the epidemic of Oporto (1899). Also dealt with evil red pig, especially in relation to an epizootic disease that made havoc in Mallorca (1892), and made remarkable works of zimotecnicos relating to the fermentation of wines and products dairy. More controversial were his "supraintensivo method" scientific bases of rabies vaccination (1888), which attempted to overcome the Pasteur. Something similar is true of his studies on tuberculosis, Center of your activity from 1897. They relied on a hypothesis ciclogenica of Bacillus tuberculous, consisting of mutations that had started from a "Alpha Bacillus" similar to the colibacillus, which sought to prepare a "antialfa vaccination".

The work of Ferran is considered today as the first developed in the field of the modern vacunoterapia; However, his enmity with Ramón y Cajal did not benefit him for nothing and has largely prevented the recognition of his work. Ferran published more than one hundred works including books, pamphlets and articles which appeared in the medical journal and scientific Spanish and foreign, mostly French and German, which have not been picked up yet in a systematic way.




Immediacy in photography. (Tortosa; (P. Llanes, 1879 [en colab. con I. Paulí]). "Theory about Asiatic morbo cholera prophylaxis". Catalan medical Gazette, no. 7 (1884). The preventive inoculation against Asian morbo cholera. (Valencia; R. Ortega, 1886 [in collaboration with A. Gimeno e I. Paulí]). Studies on rabies and its prophylaxis. (Barcelona; Suc. (de N. Ramírez, 1889). "Vaccination against diphtheria acute experimental poisoning". Catalan medical Gazette, no. "14 (1891).""Ueber das aerobische Beziehung des Tetanusbacillus". Centralblatt für Bakteriologie, vol. 24 (1898). The bubonic plague. (Barcelona; Suc. of F. Sánchez, 1907 [at colab. with f. Viñas and R. Grau]). "" Études sur le saphophytisme des dysentériques tuberculogenes et sur antituberculeuse vaccination ", Revue Internatinale the Tuberculose, n ° 12 (1907)."La nouvelle bacteruilogie of the tuberculosis". Archives General de médecine, vol. 6 (1913).


BERTRAN, MARIO JESUS. Ferran. The life of a useful Sage. (Barcelona; Ribó, 1917).POLISHED FERNANDEZ, ANGEL. Vae Invectoibus Magnis! (Barcelona; The Renaixensa, 1921). -Representative forerunner, and martyr. (Madrid; IMP. National Institute for deaf and blind, 1921).AGUILAR BULK, FRANCISCO. History of cholera vaccination of Ferran. (Valencia thesis, 1967).BORNSIDE, G. H. "Jaime Ferrán and preventive inoculation against cholera", Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 55 (1981) 516-532.lopez PIÑERO, J. M. et al., "Introductory studies". In: FERRAN, J. GIMENO, a., PAULI, i. preventive inoculation against Asian morbo cholera, (Valencia, Consellería de Sanitat i Consum, 1985, pp. 1-71).BÁGUENA CERVELLERA, M. J. "Microbiology". In: LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. et al., basic medical science in the 19th century Valencia, (Valencia, Edicions Alfons el Magnànim, 1988, pp. 197-262).