Science for the wounded
The work of Dr. Armand Frappier
Additional war productions and dispatching of biological products
Despite the war effort being a priority, the Institute’s researchers carried on their research in public health and preventive medicine, with a particular emphasis put on studies related to military medicine. Experiments were made on pyrogenic bodies which make human serum toxic, on gas gangrene and war wounds. They also studied the viral origins of cancer, as well as the various modes of vaccination for the BCG and allergies that this vaccine causes in some patients.
As a result, Dr. Frappier’s team developed other biological products in addition to human serum, such as diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, smallpox vaccine and penicillin. Varied buyers such as the departments of the federal and the provincial Health, Allied armies and even the Free French Forces, purchased these products. Thus, starting in 1941 the Institute of Microbiology dispatched vaccines and serums to the Province of Quebec, to Canada and to Europe. Exportation of biological products reached its peak at the end of 1944 with the shipments of dried human serum.
From that moment on, the Human Serum Desiccation Service worked tirelessly to catch up with the Connaught Laboratories so to send dried serum as quickly as possible to the injured. Thousands bottles of dried human serum were shipped to Europe, thanks to Canadian blood donors, but also to foreigners. For instance, in 1945, thousands of plasma donations from US citizens of the State of Vermont enabled the Institute of Microbiology to send more dried serum and plasma to combatants of the Free French Forces and Allied armies. Through the cultural and historical affinities joining the French and French Canadians, Dr. Frappier also helped many wounded French soldiers with shipments of dried human serum to Dr. Mérieux at the Mérieux Institute in Lyon.