Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine … is the requirement of these times. We want the vaccine against this pandemic to be discovered once and for all. We despair of the obvious slowness of the process. There is no standard time. But there was one man worried about getting certain vaccines in record time. The fastest vaccine maker in history was named Maurice Hilleman.
Tireless and impulsive
He created 40 vaccines for animals and humans. He developed 9 of the 14 routinely administered to children. He was a tough and impulsive character, known for his brilliant mind, loyalty and vulgar language. He was also a loving father. His daughter Jeryl Lynn was 5 years old when she accidentally helped him with a mump vaccine.
He was born in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic in Montana, USA. He came from a poor family. His first job was in the local department store. He applied to Montana State University and graduated in microbiology. His doctoral thesis was innovative. In 1944, at just 25, Hilleman showed that chlamydia was not a virus but a bacterium. It could be treated with antibiotics.
He worked for a pharmaceutical company and the US Army. He developed a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, a virus that causes brain damage. And it showed how flu viruses mutate each year and prevent a pandemic by updating a vaccine.
His daughter and the mumps
Her daughter was five years old. Jeryl Lynn woke up in the middle of the night because she wasn’t feeling well. He described what he felt. and to his surprise, Hilleman did something unusual. He ran to the lab in the middle of the night and returned home with a swab and petri dish. “Then he took a sample of the slime in his throat.
He soon developed a vaccine. In the 1960s, clinical trials were smaller and faster with less regulation. The virus was tested in 1966 and approved a year later. In other words, the process took 4 years. They named the virus strain Jeryl Lynn used in the vaccine.
Hilleman developed measles and rubella vaccines to manufacture the MMR or MMR vaccine. He was never satisfied; If he shot a shot, it was only one thing he could cross off his list. His goal, though impossible, was to try to eliminate any infectious disease that a child could suffer.
His legacy survives
He had his way of doing things and so it had to be. He was very loyal to those who worked for him, but he expected that they would work as hard as he did. But it was practically impossible: he was the fastest vaccine manufacturer in history.
It’s a shame that he doesn’t live now. He would surely find his way to the coronavirus vaccine soon. However, there are many who are now working day and night with their legacy as an example to achieve this goal.
And they will continue to do so until they succeed. Although anti-vaccine groups deny their value or conspiracy lovers predict that they’ll turn us into zombies … or whatever they postulate.