Meredith Wadman - The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease
An M.D. and a longtime journalist covering biomedical research politics, now on the staff of Science, Wadman recounts the breakthroughs that led to the desperately needed vaccine against rubella as well as the many political battles that nearly blocked the work. Rubella causes severe birth defects in babies whose mothers are exposed to it while pregnant, and doctors began to home in on a remedy only in 1962, when a biologist used tissue from a fetus aborted in Sweden to culture the germ of a vaccine. Cell lines and procedures derived from these first successful experiments have been used world-wide for inoculations against a wide range of diseases, sparking debates about the role of human fetal tissue in research, the proprietary use of human tissues in general, and the ethics of testing on infants, prisoners, and other involuntary subjects—issues made newly urgent with the rise of the Zika virus.