While we think of vaccines as relatively modern, the concept of using modified infectious agents to “protect” us has been in practice for thousands of years, report UTMB’s Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in this week’s installment of Medical Discovery News. Records from China and India from 2,000 years ago describe inoculating people with scabs from others with mild cases of small pox. This was risky and many died but the practice persisted. In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner established that people were protected from smallpox when they were inoculated with cowpox, a related virus generally not a threat to humans. Thus, Jenner coined the word vaccination, which is derived from the Latin - vacca for cow. MDN airs locally at 10 a.m. Saturday on KUHF.