Armand Frappier: pioneer of preventive medicine

Production of vaccines and antibiotics

Candling deviceZoomZoom
© Armand-Frappier Museum
Production of vaccinesZoomZoom
© Armand-Frappier Museum
Mechanical system for stirring virus culturesZoomZoom
© Armand-Frappier Museum

In 1942, the Institute produced the diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus vaccine (DPT), and the antibiotics gramicidin and penicillin.

The Institute’s clientele was composed of more than 14 countries, all the Canadian provinces, the federal government and all its civil services, its military services and its aid programs to developing nations, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

After the war, penicillin and streptomycin were put at the disposal of civilians. It was at that time that the Institut Armand Frappier, along with industry, allowed these antibiotics to be distributed to Canadians.

At the time, penicillin was only distributed for military use. One day, when a civilian patient was on the verge of dying, Dr. Frappier was asked to determine the nature of the infection from a microbial point of view. He took steps and showed the test results to a committee, which was satisfied and made penicillin available to him. Within just a few hours following treatment, the patient’s condition was remarkably improved and within a few days he was in perfect health. Dr. Frappier was thus the first civilian doctor in Quebec to treat a civilian patient with penicillin by injection. Since then this treatment has been used to cure numerous infections!

The new great challenge of the Institute: The fight against two great viral diseases which are a menace to public health: influenza and poliomyelitis. Dr. Vytautas Pavilanis developed the virology department of the Institute and encouraged the team to produce vaccines against polio and influenza. With time running out, the Institute was able to produce, beginning in 1957, the anti-polio Salk vaccine as well as the vaccine against Asian flu.