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The Malaria Project: The Secret Government Mission for a Cure

University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Online; Online Video; Video
Filmed Lectures
With malaria a real threat to American troops' fighting fitness, the U.S. government during World War II mounted an all-out hunt for a malaria cure. Tropical-disease researchers with the Rockefeller Foundation took the lead on a secret project that adopted German research models and methods, including use of institutionalized Americans—inmates in six mental hospitals and several large prisons—both for culturing the parasites that cause malaria (there was no animal model) and for testing experimental drugs against the disease. After thousands of failed starts (and much human harm), the researchers had their "magic bullet": a German antimalarial compound captured in battle. This drug, reformulated in the U.S., is chloroquine, one of the most important pharmaceuticals ever made to fight malaria. In this Medical Center Hour, public health journalist Karen Masterson and infectious diseases specialist Dr. Richard Pearson delve into this tale of secret science in the service of war efforts and into research that was conducted before promulgation of federal rules and regulations governing human participation in biomedical research. Co-presented with the History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series of Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Childress, Marcia Day
Masterson, Karen, 1964-
Pearson, Richard D.
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Medical Center Hour
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The speakers in this presentation have given the University of Virginia permission to make it freely accessible online for all audiences to view. To request permission to reproduce, republish, and/or repost this presentation please contact the Historical Collections and Services Department of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia.
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