Stanley Alan Plotkin's Development of a Rubella Vaccine (1969)
AuthorRoss, Christian H.
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In the US during the late 1960s, Stanley Alan Plotkin, John D. Farquhar, Michael Katz, and Fritz Buser isolated a strain of the infectious disease rubella and developed a rubella vaccine with a weakened, or attenuated, version of the virus strain. Rubella, also called German measles, is a highly contagious disease caused by the rubella virus that generally causes mild rashes and fever. However, in pregnant women, rubella infections can lead to developmental defects in their fetuses. Plotkin and his collaborators weakened a strain of rubella, called RA 27/3, by growing the virus in WI-38 cells, a strain of human embryonic cells developed at the Wistar Institute by Leonard Hayflick in the early 1960s. Their research led to the development of a rubella vaccine, which prevented rubella in children and congenital rubella syndrome in the fetuses of pregnant women who had contracted rubella.