Walter Plowright

Award Winner

1923 – 2010


Who was Walter Plowright?

Walter Plowright CMG FRS FRCVS was an English veterinary scientist who devoted his career to the eradication of the cattle plague rinderpest. Plowright received the 1999 World Food Prize for his development of tissue culture rinderpest vaccine, the key element in the quest to eliminate rinderpest. Rinderpest became the first animal disease to be eliminated worldwide.

He was the second son of Jonathan and Mahala Plowright. He attended Moulton Grammar School which transferred to Spalding Grammar School in 1939. He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1944 and was commissioned into the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

As a young veterinary pathologist, Plowright carried out research in Kenya and Nigeria. The East African Veterinary Research Organization at Muguga in Kenya provided the base for Plowright and his colleagues to adopt the cell-culture techniques used to develop the polio vaccine to produce a live attenuated virus for use as a rinderpest vaccine.

Plowright used a mono-layer of kidney cells to culture the virus until it became non-virulent and could be transmitted from one cattle to another, producing lifelong immunity against rinderpest.

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Jul 20, 1923
Also known as
  • Walter Plowright CMG FRS FRCVS
  • England
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Spalding Grammar School
Feb 19, 2010

on July 23, 2013


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