“Thanks to a vaccine developed in 1796 by British doctor Edward Jenner and the efforts of the scientific community, the disease has been completely erased – although it took nearly two centuries to do so. Smallpox remains the only human disease to have been eradicated this way.” BBC: We are in the grip of a pandemic like none other in living memory. While people are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to wipe it out, the fact is most of the infections faced by our ancestors are still with us.