Do you know who Maurice Hilleman was or what he did?
He once said that:
Preventative medicine, and little else with the possible exception of antibioitcs, has brought about the lengthening of the average human lifespan to the Biblical threescore and ten years. Among the most potent and effective weapons in accomplishing this longevity have been the vaccines.
If you don’t who he is, you will likely be surprised that he is often described as the:
- unsung giant of vaccinology
- greatest vaccinologist
- 20th century’s leading vaccinologist
- greatest scientist of the 20th century
- father of modern vaccines
Tragically, he has also recently been described as the MMR vaccine’s forgotten hero.
Even though he developed 8 of the 14 most commonly used vaccines that save at least 8 million lives a year, few people know about him or that he developed the measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, and rubella vaccines.
You might even be more familiar with his daughter, as the Jeryl Lynn strain of mumps virus is in the current mumps vaccine. Hilleman developed the mumps vaccine after culturing the virus from his sick daughter, Jeryl Lynn, and then attenuating the virus.
With all he did, it’s not surprising that Bill Gates called Hilleman one of the most influential vaccine heroes.
Maurice Hilleman also:
- defined antigenic drift and shift for influenza
- discovered and purified interferon
- identified adenovirus
- discovered SV40
All together, he developed 40 experimental and licensed animal and human vaccines.
Hilleman once called Jenner, Pasteur, Koch, von Behring, Ehrlich and Lister giants of their time – the late 18th and 19th centuries.
Similarly, Maurice Hilleman was, without question, a giant of our time.
For More Information on Maurice Hilleman:
- Hilleman Documentary
- Maurice Hilleman: Unsung Giant of Vaccinology
- Profile on Maurice Hilleman
- A Forgotten Pioneer of Vaccines
- Maurice Hilleman
- A zombie meme rises from the grave: Maurice Hilleman, the polio
- Maurice Hilleman, Master in Creating Vaccines, Dies at 85
- Personal reflections on twentieth century vaccinology.
- Vaccinated One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases