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Almroth Wright

Sir Almroth E. Wright at Cambridge.
Born August 10, 1861
Middleton Tyas, Yorkshire, England.
Died April 30, 1947
Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, England
Residence Australia, France, Germany, England.
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields bacteriology
Institutions Netley Hospital
St Mary's Hospital, London
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Known for vaccination through the use of autogenous vaccines

Sir Almroth Edward Wright, KBE, CB (1861-1947) was a British bacteriologist and immunologist. He is best known for advancing vaccination through the use of autogenous vaccines (prepared from the bacteria harboured by the patient) and also through typhoid vaccination with typhoid bacilli killed by heat.



In the 19th century, Wright worked with the armed forces of Britain to develop vaccines and promote immunisation.

In 1902 Wright started a research department at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London. He developed a system of anti-typhoid inoculation and a method of measuring protective substances (opsonin) in human blood. Citing the example of the Second Boer War, during which many soldiers died from easily preventable diseases, Wright convinced the armed forces that 10 million vaccines for the troops in northern France should be produced during World War I. Among the many bacteriologists who followed in Wright's footsteps at St Mary's was Sir Alexander Fleming, who in turn later discovered lysozyme and penicillin.

Wright warned early on that antibiotics would create resistant bacteria, something that has proven an increasing danger. He made his thoughts on preventive medicine influential, stressing preventive measures. Wright's ideas have been re-asserted recently—50 years after his death—by modern researchers in articles in such periodicals as Scientific American.

He also proposed that logic be introduced as a part of medical training, but his idea was never adopted. Wright also pointed out that Pasteur and Fleming, although both excellent researchers, had not actually managed to find cures for the diseases which they had sought cures, but instead had stumbled upon cures for totally unrelated diseases.

The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage by Sir Almroth Wright M.D. F.R.S. was published in 1913 and is available on the Project Gutenberg website[1].

Wright was immortalised by George Bernard Shaw as Sir Colenso Ridgeon in the play 'The Doctor's Dilemma' written in 1906.


  • The Unexpurgated Case against Woman Suffrage (1913)
  • Pathology and Treatment of War Wounds (1942)
  • Researches in Clinical Physiology (1943)
  • Studies on Immunization (2 vol., 1943–44)


  • Walker, N M (2007), "Edward Almroth Wright.", Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 153 (1): 16–7, 2007 Mar, PMID 17575871 
  • Stone, Marvin J (2007), "The reserves of life: William Osler versus Almroth Wright.", Journal of medical biography 15 Suppl 1: 28–31, PMID 17356738 
  • Diggins, Francis (2002), "Who was...Almroth Wright?", Biologist (London, England) 49 (6): 280–2, 2002 Dec, PMID 12486306 
  • Matthews, J Rosser (2002), "Almroth Wright, vaccine therapy, and British biometrics: disciplinary expertise versus statistical objectivity.", Clio medica (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 67: 125–47, PMID 12215201 
  • Worboys, M (1999), "Almroth Wright at Netley: modern medicine and the military in Britain, 1892-1902.", Clio medica (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 55: 77–97, PMID 10631532 
  • Baron, J H (1997), "Scurvy, Lancaster, Lind, Scott and Almroth Wright.", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 90 (7): 415, 1997 Jul, PMID 9290433 
  • Meynell, E W (1996), "Some account of the British military hospitals of World War I at Etaples, in the orbit of Sir Almroth Wright.", Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 142 (1): 43–7, 1996 Feb, PMID 8667330 
  • Matthews, J R (1995), "Major Greenwood versus Almroth Wright: contrasting visions of "scientific" medicine in Edwardian Britain.", Bulletin of the history of medicine 69 (1): 30–43, PMID 7711458 
  • Turk, J L (1994), "Almroth Wright--phagocytosis and opsonization.", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 87 (10): 576–7, 1994 Oct, PMID 7966100 
  • Gillespie, W (1991), "Paul Ehrlich and Almroth Wright.", West of England medical journal 106 (4): 107, 118, 1991 Dec, PMID 1820079 
  • Allison, V D (1974), "Personal recollections of Sir Almroth Wright and Sir Alexander Fleming.", The Ulster medical journal 43 (2): 89–98, PMID 4612919 
  • Hatcher, J (1972), "Sir Almroth Wright; pioneer of humanised cows' milk.", Midwives chronicle 86 (18): 356, 1972 Nov, PMID 4485442 
  • Fish, W; Cope, Z; Gray, A C (1961), "Sir Almroth WRIGHT (1861-1947).", Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 107: 130–6, 1961 Jul, PMID 14447829 
  • FISH, W; COPE, Z; GRAY, A C (1961), "Sir Almroth WRIGHT (1861-1947).", Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 107: 130–6, 1961 Jul, PMID 13699916 
  • COLEBROOK, L (1953), "Almroth Wright; pioneer in immunology.", British medical journal 2 (4837): 635–40, 1953 Sep 19, doi:10.1136/bmj.2.4837.635, PMID 13082064 
  • Works by Almroth Wright at Project Gutenberg

See also

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