Merck Scientist Pioneered the Invention of More Than 40 Vaccines, Saving Millions of Lives

Today’s New York Times Remembers Vaccine Pioneer Dr. Maurice Hilleman

05.07.13 | By

In the (now famous) picture, a mumps-ridden Jeryl Hilleman screams at the camera while older sister Kristen cautiously holds the baby still enough to endure the prick of a needle held by their father, Merck vaccinologist Dr. Maurice Hilleman.  In the picture, Hilleman has the scowl of an anxious father heavy on his brow, and with good reason:  the cultures taken from baby Jeryl that March night in 1966 were later used by her father to develop the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine, presently given to more than 95 percent of American children and saving millions of lives.

Today New York Times wrote up a great profile of Dr. Hilleman on the 50th anniversary of the night he first swabbed baby Jeryl and began to develop M.M.R. vaccines.  In fact, Dr. Hilleman has been credited with more than 40 vaccine inventions, including chickenpox, Haemophilus influence type b, and hepatitis A & B, among many others. 

The NYT profile is worth a quick read, but if you still want more, here’s a popular biography on Dr. Hilleman that details his work.





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