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01
Jul
2009
13:41 mins
Episode: MTS30 - Stanley Plotkin - The Past, Present, and Future of Vaccines 
MicrobeWorld's Meet the Scientist Podcast | 118 Episodes
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<p><a title="Stanley Plotkin Wikipedia page" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Plotkin">Stanley Plot</a><a title="Stanley Plotkin Wikipedia page" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Plotkin">kin</a> is Professor Emeritus at the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.&nbsp; A renowned vaccinologist, Dr. Plotkin is, perhaps, best known for developing a highly successful vaccine for rubella back in 1968.&nbsp; We are still using the same vaccine 40 years later.&nbsp; Dr. Plotkin has been honored with the inaugural <a title="Hilleman/Merck Award info" href="http://www.asm.org/Academy/index.asp?bid=57948">Maurice Hilleman / Merck Award</a> for his lifetime of dedication to vaccinology.&nbsp;</p>
<p>For most people, rubella amounts to a bad rash and a crummy week, but for a fetus, the risks from infection are extremely serious.&nbsp; The rubella virus inhibits tissue growth in infected fetuses, often resulting in profound birth defects collectively referred to as congenital rubella syndrome.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Dr. Plotkin developed the rubella vaccine in the wake of a rubella pandemic in 1964, during which he estimates that about 1 in 100 women in his home city of Philadelphia came down with rubella.&nbsp; Nationwide, thousands of babies were born with congenital rubella syndrome in the wake of the outbreak.&nbsp; Thanks to the vaccine developed by Dr. Plotkin, rubella has essentially been eradicated in the U.S. and most other developed countries.&nbsp; In many parts of the developing world, efforts are underway to piggy back the rubella vaccine with the measles vaccine to eradicate both of these diseases everywhere else.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> In this interview, I talked with Dr. Plotkin about the backlash against vaccines for their perceived safety risks, how he would change vaccine policy, and about the rewards of a career in vaccine development.</p><div class="feedflare">
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