tv The Vaccine Race CSPAN May 28, 2017 5:46am-6:46am EDT
oxford university and has written for "the new york times" amongs could is current lay staff writer at science magazine. as an epidemiologist and a researcher in training i was excited to read her book, the vaccine race, signs, politics and human cost of defeating disease. the senators for a disease control and prevention considers vaccinations the number one public health achievement of the 20th century. indeed vaccines have saved millions of lives. it is because of vaccinations that smallpox is eradicated and the scourge of other diseases such as polio, rue la and chicken box are a thing of the past. this is a story about great achievement in public health and about the men, women and children who happened make the vaccines possible. throughout this book, cob tell prayer interviews with -- contemporary interviews keep these individual as i live own then page, dr. wadman does not shire airplane from the
uncomfortable truth in the history of vaccines. the race remind us it's important we learn from the past so the story written in the future about how we solved the crises of today is much more ethically grounded. perhaps the greatest operates i can give this book, it is not just for the vaccinology geek it for politics and those champion the cause of social justice. help me become to the stage, >> [applause] >> thanks for the welcome i am so pleased to be here especially to the book festival organizers say cannot think of a better way to spend a saturday among those who love to read book spero i was bosh into a medical family.
my dad was a doctor, my mom was a public health nurse and we grew up imbued with the idea that vaccination was good and important but i went to africa the major hospital for blacks during the apartheid era that instant came thome in a very visceral way how lukey we were to be protected by many vaccines. this was a horribly overcrowd, underfunded hospital, as you can see from the four newborns crammed in an incubator and the hospital has a large area all of the -- and by the time kids got they were sick. typically unvaccinated and malnourished win you get a lack of vaccination in combination of mall nutrition it's a devastate cycle. measles will invade these kid
are brains and lungs. not advancing. any idea why? oh, sorry. it did. my bad. this toddler had just died from measle that invaded his lungs for lack of a 29-cent vaccine. i went on during medical school to realize that i -- my calling was actually to be a writer and i was able to write an article about the hospital and nat was a moment of truth for me where i thought i'm going good on to journalism and going to be a medical writer and i have been lucky enough to be doing that here in washington, dc, motor of the time for nature and recently for science. it's like come fro red sox to the yankees but we're all one big happy family in science journalism and there's lots of crossover. so, why write a book called the vaccine race and what is it about i'm going to briefly -- because there's a lot in the book, i'm going speed along but touch on three major points.
one is the cells at the heart of this book are called wy38 cells, derived from an aborted fetus and used to make many vaccines. the most vaccine is the rubella vaccine. the rails the heart of the book this race to get a rubella vaccine and i will speak about the people who war used and often abused in the race back 50, 60, 70 years doing get new therapies and vaccines. how did i actually get started on the project really began with another book, many of you may be fame if. the about a 19 -- event from 1951 in which a 31-year-old largely ill literal, very poor, africa woman was dying of cervical cancer, doctors took cells from their womb and they became a ubiquitous and hugely important tool in medical
research. the wasn't aware of dismiss the author of the book spends time examining the impact of that on her family who was left behind. and i just could not put that book down, like so many people i'm sure and so that book was foremost in my mind a couple of years later when i came across a letter to the editor of science magazine from someone called leonard. a scientist in california and said, basically in this letter -- the creels are get upping all the attention, but i derived some cells in 1962 from an aborted fetus and they've been used to make vaccines for the protected hundreds of millions of people and not only that, i got into a huge intel legal talk to property fight with the nih in 1970s about just who owned those cells and it ratessed questions that are still unanswered today. that letter just leapt off the page at me and i very shortly thereafter phoned leonard. hers was 84.
today is this 89 independent birth day and he is still going strong. but anyway, phoned him. he said, i -- i said, sounds like there's an untold story here, and he says, there is ever. and shortly thereafter i happened to have a college reunion in california and able to visit him at his home in northern california, and here's the story of the wy38 cells from the beginning. what there is in 2012, his wife ruth in sea ranch, california the took me back down memory lane to this institute on the university of pennsylvania campus but independent of it. was sort of a creepy mausoleum of 1960 american american anatomy with horrible anatomical specimens, and really was moribund as a time when the man in the middle was recruited to
give the institute a new life. he became its director. he was a larger than life character, an -- escape. float hitler, fled with his young family via south america to the states. he was an -- he -- loved wine and whim and song -- women and song, not necessarily in that order and definitely looked down somewhat on american scientist as being just a bit colonial so when he hired the young leonard, who in this picture who was 30 a working class philadelphian who brought himself up by the bootstraps from a family that has nothing and worked through a ph.d in medical microbiology the university of pennsylvania, the czar of the -- looked an electric understands as a technician, hired to serve up cells, dishes of cells for
experiments to the really outstanding biologist from all over the world that he had then recruited. leonard was a very bright guy, dogged, ambitious, and he was not about to be made a second class citizen or stopped from doing science. he wasn't just going to be a household servant. so what did he do? he began getting fetuses from abortions that were conducted across the street from the institute the hospital of the university of pennsylvania. abortion was a criminal offense in every u.s. state in this era. in pennsylvania, there was not even an exception in the criminal law that would be okay to do an borings to save the life of the mother. you could get ten years at hard labor, fines. however, there was a parallel universe that operate weed authorities looked aside from major medical centers like the hospital the university of pennsylvania, where if they could do a so-called medical
therapeutic abortion, justified by doctors, then they tolerated it. so that is how he began to receive the flow of fetuses every few months, and he would grow feet fetal cells in lab dish. it if you grew cell's in lab dish that's should grow forever. they were immortal and if they died it was screwup on the part of the scientist, temperature hadn't been right any incubation room or someone sneezed on the cultures and infected them or the nutritious broth used to nourish the cells was deficient. and so when leonard's cells started dying after several months, first the cells from the first fees fetus died, and then the sneaks ones and the next. he thought he was screwing up. he did all kinds of experiments. why were these cells dying? what was he doing wrong? you can see on the left those are young, healthy, fetal cells
from the lungs of an aborted fetus. on the right old, elderly, disorganized cells in their last stages of life. why were they dying? he finally saw what decade of scientists had not seen, that cells in lab dishes are as mortal as you are or provide they are normal and not cancerous cells. cancerous cell biz definition will grow over. tuesday these were aborted fetal cells and he took a huge amount of fracture when me push -- flak. it tike years to be accept but you talk to any young kell biologist today and mention leonard and they will they of the limit about 50 cell divisions that cells will go through before they die if they are normal cells in lab dishes. well, immediately when the paper was published there was a
tremendous interest. they wanted to do experiments on the normal biology of aging. the nih was equally interested in the cells because they wanted to fund scientists to look into the cells but there was a freezer failure and all thereof cells he derived had died by mistake. what was he going to do the nih fund him to start deal including fetal cell lines. a lot of money came from the nih under this contract to lean leonard. ...
>> those harbored silent by the late 1950s tens of millions of children in this country has been vaccinated with the salt vaccine and silent monkey viruses were in the vaccine up to 30 million children were exposed to -- monkey kids monkey viruses that had penetrated the vaccine. that it was thought to have been killed from formaldehyde and seem perfectly healthy so they did not worry too much. quick high school and viruses
are basically a piece of genetic material surrounded by protein coat on their own they don't eat, sleep, drink, have sex or move around the or anything else. they must invade cell thord to produce thelses is a virus will invade a cell. hijack the c hijacked the cellular machinery make copies of itself that is how viruses replicate and those vaccine factories. but on the left bernice eddy came from a town of less than 200 in west virginia and worked through ph.d. at the university of cincinnati and dismoferred 1960s that the reese's monkey kidney cell harbored a particular monkey
virus that caused a uniformly fatal cancer in her laboratory hamsters. she alerted her boss, and silenced and finally put to work in what was a supply wroom one staffer. this an she put u up with the punishment mead amazing sting power. the only was "the national enquirer" that got the story right and pole owe vaccine to cover up yes there was this particular virus sb40 in the vaccine and no one knew in the long-term what had it might do to carbon cancer and it was very clear it caused cancer in eddy hamsters and clear that scrape themselves from a human being cheek it would cause cancer in those. regulators got worried. they moved to another monkey species in 1963 for producing polio vaccine going forward. looked at all of this and
thought what the he can. why don't we get cells from one, clean normal fetus and they were multiplying in the the lab and we can use them and we will know they're safe. and we can dispense importing hundred offings thousand and slaughtering them expensive and nasty business anyway. meet mrs. eps need a source of an aborted fetus where he can go back to get the medical history, the surgeon of the university of pennsylvania didn't care about his work it was a pain in the but for them. he needed somebody who understood vaccine making and its importance. through a connection able to contact the carolyn institute where abortion was legal an obtain oi aborted fetus who was in 1962 a mother of several young children with a whose who wasn't too much use and often out of town for manual labor and wasn't much help when he was around.
a alcoholic with a criminal record and she could not face another child. hover, although it was legal in sweden to get an abortion it was not easy. many doctors wouldn't perform them. and by the time mrs. ex found swedish gin kolg who agreed to perform abortion she was four months pregnant a character in herself and tell you about her and if anyone is aware, tries to race ahead the fetus a female was about eight a inches long wrapped in a sterile green cloth and transported to the carolyn institute? stockholm where lungs dissected flown to philadelphia where waiting for them. in the summer of 1962, as social change was coming in the u.s., rachel carsons silence ring publish many other events afoot. [inaudible conversations] well --
haflex deriving to wuu38 cell and he create ared 800 of these tiny cells each had two to three million cells in it. each cell in each had the potential to divide another 40 times. if you do the math you realize that simply one little bottle of about ten million cells will produce 22 million pounds of cells or tons rather when it is fully expanded. for practical purposes created a supply of cells that was infinite especially when you realize if you freeze 800 cells an take out one ampuele a decade or 50 years later cells will begin dividing again and they will remember how many times they divide before they were frozen and they'll continue up to roughly 50 divisions to america will use cells today from viles just look this one that they laid down in the srm of 189 --
summer of 1962 excited about the cell and got lab tests that was clear that the cells from mrs. ex-'s fetus were clean and safe, in fact, he sent a young physician back to interview mrs. x several months after abortion to make sure her family was free of infectious disease and carries and learned that her fetus has been taken. she provided a medical history that made clear there was no problems of health in her history. but she then ran into someone who was the wrong per the wrong jobbed at the wrong time this gy rob murray educated physician and expert in biology -- but he had been in the south pacific with u.s. medical core as a physician in 1942 when there was a terrible accident with yellow fever vaccine. itittens of thousands of militay men were infected with hepatitis
b that had mistakenly infected the yellow fever vaccine up to 150 eve them died. murray witnessed this at close quarters probably put the fear of god in him. 13 years later when the salt vaccine rolled out mirror rei by then second in command in the vaccine safety division. and he saw what was called the cutter unfold where a company called cutter laboratory of california produced salt vaccine that have live polio virus in it. 192 paralyzed and ten died a recall of vaccine, this was a terrible situation. everyone after secretary of health an human services was fired. he was moved into his bosses position and he became the chief vaccine regulator for the entire united states. he was in the nih because at the time that's where vaccine regulation resided in the u.s. government it was only later moved to fda.
murray kept his own counsel with terribly photo make decisions with very have conservative and did not want to make changes unless he was absolutely forced to. and so when he looked at fetal cells, he was afraid they were going to cause cancer and vaccine and he resisted them. he even asked european companies and clinical trial people rushed to use them to make measles and cells were stymied. i'm going to take a right turn but i promise you i'll come back to the storyline in 1964, a massive rubella epidemic descended knock like it ever been seen before. rubella known as measles is mild disease if you or i or get it it. might have swollen lymph node or rash or might not know you're infected two-thirds of people extremely mild. however, if a pregnant woman gets rubella, it is devastating on the fetus.
unlike zika affects pregnancy in about 15% of first time smetter and it will damage between 90 and 100% so you can imagine in the midst of this rubella eld with no vaccine available in 1964 women were terrified and many, many -- were effected by it. 20,000 babies born, blind, deaf, disabled with shrunken heads with zika babies, combination of these conditions, and unknown number of other women but at least 5,000 chose to terminate their pregnancies because of the epidemic. they couldn't be they would have rubella but as a girl all very scary. so those are pictures of tiny rubella virus particles between cell when is rubella infects fetus it infects virtual every fetal organ.
one of the outcomes of cataracts. this is steven who was born during the 1964 '65 epidemic born and deaf an pictured here at about age 8. and one who worked up stairs around the corner from the institute and he was a self-made man grew up in the bronx was not two pennies to rub together worked his way through medical school almost was shut out of medical school because he was jewish earned a new york state scholarship which meant that -- the down state medical center could not turn him down from medical school. he had his heart set on making vaccines, he had emulated hillary who headed star institute who had been a polio vaccine pioneer, and plot decided in midst of this epidemic that he was going to do something about it and already been working in britain where it hit a year earlier so he knew
what it did to babies and returned to pfltd in 1964 as epidemic descended, and soon became known as the only doctor in philadelphia who could run a very lengthy and ownerrous blood test to tell a pregnant woman she had been infected and saying can i have the blood test? when the test was positive, and a family close to abort, he asked them could i receive the fetus are from abortion because i'm trying to isolate u rubella virus from that fetus and to grow it in wi38 cells which he promptly did he received 31 fetuses in course of calendar year 1964. it was fetus number 27 from he captured rubella virus that particular group well in the wi38 cell. that's just a sense of the anxiety that women experience this was the front are cover of life magazine in june of 1965.
up against big competition at the set up to develop with a rubella virus vaccine. many major drug companyies saw what the market was going to be for this vaccine. every woman of childbearing age in this country and around the world would want this vaccine plus probably regulators would recommend it for young children so they wouldn't expose their pictures so merck involved, and french involved. another very sophisticated belgian company so a lone economic scientist but stubborn and very determined. when he had developed the vaccine, he did what virtually all of his colleagues did in those days. he found a powerless institutionalized population on which to pass that. he went to archbishop of philadelphia and owned in philadelphia called saint vincent home for children and first plot vaccine took place on one and two-year-old toddlers in this orphanage pictured here and
i'm going to pause here and going to pause to read you a little bit from the book about what st. vincent was like. am i projecting all right? the mic isn't adeal. but let me know if please wave at me if you're not hearing me. the st. vincent home for children at 609 green avenue made was red brick the three stories tall, and took up most of a city block. it is two symmetrical wings by windows, above these were crowned with stone crosses for the roman catholic archdiocese of philadelphia owned operated the home -- while many called the home an orphan orphanage not all of the participants who lived there were dead. some were sick or in jail or destitute and unmarried girls and young women chosen or forced to give up children for adoption. there was a maternity home and hospital for unwed moistures
across the lane. and when those babies were born, if they weren't adopted in first year passed across lane to orphanage and mixed on black children. five helped by a core of hired child care workers and dress and changed diapers, bathe them each evening assembly line fashion also two cooks. two adopted stray dogs named jamie and steve and grumpley maintenance man. nuns and more friendly habit of whose wives leaves more than one stray during diaper change and livered in single rooms and worship on the ground floor. the rest of the lower two floors the children. it was a spartan place with hard floors and stallless bathrooms with tiny toilets. the nuns tried to make up in love what building left physical
warmth making sure they got out on playground reading to them and walking to the park. still the nuns worried about the children sister a pit petite every one of them needed adult or two to belong to. a level of care and attention she couldn't possibly provide. there were crushing mommies. days that foster family arrived to take one boy away and he unraveled in a desperate scream and whales. the unforgettable lost look that a nun named sister mary chose to observe on presidents face of a deaf girl e discovered that a present that john joseph kroal handed to her at the annual christmas party a at a downtown hotel was, in fact, just a decoration and empty box.
it was from the ball the spectacle kroal, that plot got a green light to study his new rubella vaccine in the children living at st. vincent's home. in his letter requesting cole's permission did not explain to the archbishop that he captured virges from aborted fetus an grown it in cells from another. he was passionately antiabortion. in 1973 he would call the supreme road versus wade calling unspeakable tragedy for this nation that set the motion of events that are unspeakable to contemplate in 1964 they gave rubella study the go ahead. i'll stop there. i have thought this was a 50 minute top but i'm understanding it is 40 so i have to move along quickly. basically, plot was outdone by
merck and others and who through political favoritism won approval for their rubella vaccine in 1969. rubella epidemic came around every six or seven years to waste when the next epidemic was expected. in 1969, the u.s. vaccine regulators approved 3 pharmaceutical company manufactured vaccination and left out in the cold. it emerged, however, because of one woman dorothyhorse man first chairwoman of pediatric at yale who paid close attention to studies on it and vaccine was actually better. it generated better level of antibodies than vaccines licensed and fewer side effects. dorothyhorse man who did not take no for an answer went to maurice the chief of vaccine making at merck someone who people lived it in fear and
intrep dation of tremendously respect of and also tremendously powerful and she told hem them mor reduce got to drop the vaccine and making the vaccine well -- guy but to this day as 1979 that first box says the vaccine, r being rubella component, measles and mumps that merck manufacture -- rubella vaccine in it and to this day, this vaccine protects four million american babies who were injected with it each year and it is also exported to 40 other countries. there's no doubt that it has prevented tens of millions of abortions and fetal abnormalities and up to this day.
the first -- the first vaccine made was the double i38 fetal cells cells thy derived in 1962 was finally approved in 1972 by u.s. regulators. how did this happen? it is because 1972 rod murray final pushed out of its job as u.s. vaccine regulator and regulation was moved over to fda. so this polio virus vaccine became first on the u.s. market made in the wi38 cell. but what happened to leonard? well remember we left him back in 1962 having arrived to cells under that contract that said he had to hand them become over when contract was up. by 1968 he was tired of being treated as a second class citizen by hillary and rest of the world class biologists at institute and he found himself a better job at sanford. that's again to reminding you of him -- he had designed whoops --
hang on -- he had designed from wi38 cell by 1968 he made a rubella vaccine and cells were there in abundance and freezer in bottom of the basement of the withstar institute and who hated dealing with finances and was constantly in a financial pickle troying to keep institute afloat wrote a letter to big british company saying, now a patented recipe of rubella vaccine and give you you all you need medical record to it make it. let's take a deal. so the letter show that haslik said over my dead body and didn't have courtesy to let me know about this. now he let him know he was leaving for stanford and nih had a meeting with him and early 1968 an said okay you need to turn cells back over to us
before you leave in june. well after -- he saw this letter to the welcome, he went quietly to the basement of the institute when no one was looking and he packed all of the remaining 400 viles of the cells into a portable refrigerator who look like a 100 pound bomb without wings and strapped into the se deny and buick, put his kids in the other seats and drove the 3,000 miles to california via the grand canyon and other -- destinations. and fit to be tied and even more went into the campaign i'll call it discovered -- however, nothing was done about about it until who had been handing cells out for free decided to set up a company in early 70s and began celling the cells including to merck he
signed a contract with merck once merck decide which made in the cells that would have been worth up to $1 million to him personally had it been executed by shortly after he signed it nih heard and got wind that he was selling a cell and sent out chief investigate of frud and abuse and call shriver to investigate. he resign ised under pressure from stanford an spent many years in the -- in weld witherness and can put it so accurately when he said that he became public this really is a great tragedy this is a man who at the height of his powers brought about his own down fall. that's front phage of "the new york times" on a sunday in march of 1967 where one of the headlines says --
nih investigator by the united states -- he spent many years redealing his reputation if you talk to anyone today what they will know about is the limit. very important discovery of cellar mortality. they will not be aware probably of his really difficult interval in mid-1970s. and also won't be aware of the tremendous contribution he made to getting safe, mini cellar factories into circulation for making viral vaccines. the british intimidated his method of another cell line mrc5 in 1966 and more than 6 billion doses of vaccines against all of these diseases measles, rabies, virus shingles and other 50 and have been vaccinated against
shingles you've been vaccinated meads in the wi38 cell ares. fought in the court for five years from 1976 to e '81. finally in '1 governments with him mainly because times were changing epidemic scientist were being asked to do a 180 degree turn to stop being -- servant to common good and looking for mecial opportunity because there was a law that came in 1980 that said institutions could own intellectual property even done by investigators done by the u.s. government medical records they were told or encouraged to become entrepreneurs given this 1980 law -- to keep prosecuting him and settled with him under term of the settlement he was allowed to keep six of the wi38 cells and rrn to the government many are sitting out o and then asked to
it speak -- still under 24/7 surveillance at the american type culture collection. he kept with california, lek wid nitrogen and months to buy liquid nitrogen and in 2006 he decided enough already. it is time because he had won set to report these cells are like my children. it is time he says my children should lever home. . . . .
>> i'm wondering why the myth about vaccines and autism have a persisted despite the scientific evidence and why the so-called anti- vaccines still have a strong sway over a certain portion of the population when the scientific consensus is that these vaccines still cause autism? >> that they really good question that a lot of people ask themselves i think in part
it's mentality right out a common across issues including global warming where distrust of authority, distrust of expertise, questioning of the facts. i also think there is a deeply human need if your child has autism you want to know there is a reason, a cause and you want to be able to tell a story about what caused it and we don't know is not tremendously satisfying, so unfortunately because the age of childhood vaccinations is simultaneous by a large for the prime autism signs manifest is easy as a distressed parent say a leads to be and then when you have people promoting that not to mention that he's been thrown out of the medical profession and his papers been retracted, it doesn't matter because if you're looking for a story and even someone who was once on authority is telling you, it
does something psychically that i can't really explain, but i do think one thing that is important is not to be dismissive or patronizing of people coming from that point of view because i just think that makes people dig in harder that there needs to be empathy and listening and then maybe education and evidence, but starting with listening and empathy. >> does anyone wonder? well i was able to discover that mrs. x is still living in sweden in a conversation with my translator she made it clear she did not want to be interviewed and wanted this to be a closed a chapter in her life, but she did say they did this without my knowledge and that would never be allowed today. yes?
>> given the discussion in the importance of it today especially with the henrietta lacks becoming more forefront with the hbo movie, have you seen the hbo movie and do you think think you gave justice to the issue at hand? >> the movie was a movie. you know, it was made for tv. tremendous acting job, but you could not get in the movie the whole back story about the cells and their use and it was meant to be a drama and that's what it was. i would recommend anyone that saw the movie and is intrigued the book is richer and that's often the case with books or versus movies, i would say. yes?
>> this is a comment more than a question, but a couple months ago i started working at johns hopkins and i work with quite a number of african-american people who are incredibly well-educated and still have fear about visiting certain parts of the hospital. i mean, that affect of that is not just the community that lives around the hospital. it's cute how much damage that is. >> the story you said you would tell us about the other woman a scientist who had gotten punished and relegated to the lab. >> witted i say? >> you would tell us what happened to her. >> she persisted in her research and worked at the nih and retired i believe at 70 and she gave a oral history revealing what happened shortly before she passed away. greatly admiring of her. she would not let herself be turned aside and i am now being
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