New this week on The History of Vaccines are interviews with two vaccine pioneers, Baruch Blumberg, MD, PhD, and Robert Austrian, MD.
The History of Vaccines interviewed Dr. Blumberg here at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia in November 2010. Dr. Blumberg discussed the fieldwork that led to his discovery of the Australia antigen, the challenges of investigating the nature of the Australia antigen, the discovery of its relationship to the hepatitis B virus, and his work on the serum-based hepatitis B vaccine. He also discussed being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1976 (only after prompting from us!), his subsequent travels in China at a time when very few Westerners had been there, and results of studies of reduction of HBV prevalence associated with the vaccine.
Infectious disease physican and Chief Medical Officer of the Penn Health System P.J. Brennan, MD, interviewed Dr. Austrian (1916-2007) in 2000. Dr. Austrian discussed his initial investigations into the prevalence of pneumococcal pneumonia, the assumptions he worked against that antimicrobials had "solved" the problem of pneumococcal pneumonia, and his pneumococcal vaccine trial among gold miners in South Africa. More