Listen to the Music: The Life of Hilary Koprowski

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In brief, Theiler found that propagating yellow fever virus in an unnatural host—chick embryos—caused the virus to adapt to that host, thereby reducing its capacity to cause disease in humans. Recall that Sabin developed his live polio vaccine from attenuated poliovirus that he received from Koprowski 1. Nevertheless, while Pasteur did passage his vaccine virus in rabbit spinal cords, the virus may have been killed when the spinal cords were later dried for up to fourteen days.

The yellow fever vaccine developed by Max Theiler at the Rockefeller Institute now University in New York may have been the first deliberately attenuated viral vaccine. That is, they had inadvertently detected what later would be known as interferon. Yet while they looked for an anti-viral substance in their tissue culture media, and while their results suggest that it actually was there, they stated in their summary that nonspecific anti-viral factors were not present 5.


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Koprowski and Lennette collaborated again in the s; this time to investigate subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a rare late complication of measles infection that results in neurodegeneration. Hilary continued to give piano recitals in Brazil, regretting only that he did not have time to practice the piano as much as he would have liked.

Nonetheless, his piano playing expanded his circle of friends to include musicians, artists and writers, in addition to his fellow scientists. Moreover, Irena was satisfied with her medical practice, and with the many friends and rich social life that she and Hilary had in Brazil. Earlier, in , while Hilary was still in Rome, and expecting that the family would soon have to leave Europe, he believed that the United States would likely be the best destination for them. Thus, he applied to the United States for visas. He had nearly forgotten those applications when, in , their numbers came up.

The Koprowski family now faced somewhat of a dilemma. It was happily settled in Brazil, and had no prospects in the United States. So, in December , the Koprowskis boarded an aging steamer in Brazil, and sailed under wartime blackout conditions, through German submarine-infested waters, for New York City. During one of his visits to the Rockefeller, he happened to meet Peter Olitzky Aside 5 , an early polio researcher there, who arranged for Hilary to meet Harold Cox, the director of the virology department at Lederle Laboratories, in Pearl River, New York.

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Hilary interviewed with Cox, who offered him a research position at Lederle, which Hilary accepted. In he tested the live vaccine in eighteen mentally disabled children at Letchworth Village 1. None of these children had antibodies against poliovirus before he vaccinated them, but each of them was producing poliovirus antibodies after receiving the vaccine.

Importantly, none of the children suffered ill effects. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.

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Springer-Verlag, Lennette EH, Koprowski H. Interference between viruses in tissue culture, Journal of Experimental Medicine , — Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.

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