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Letters |

Developers of the Hepatitis B Vaccine

Alain Braillon, MD
JAMA. 2009;302(23):2552. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1832.
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To the Editor: In his JAMA Classics article, Dr Beasley1 provided a commentary about the 1976 article by Buynak et al on vaccine against human hepatitis B.2 However, his discussion did not include Philippe Maupas, a professor of microbiology at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Tours in France.

In 1976, Maupas published the results of the first vaccination against hepatitis B in humans.3 Patients and staff in a hemodialysis unit received an inactivated vaccine against hepatitis B (prepared from blood donor hepatitis B surface antigen purified on immunoadsorbents). Safety and efficacy had been previously tested in chimpanzees. Five years later, Maupas died in an automobile crash, returning home from the airport after a trip to Senegal, where he was conducting a trial in that endemic area to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma. Baruch Blumberg acknowledged his contribution, as well as that of Maurice Hilleman.4


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December 16, 2009
R. Palmer Beasley, MD
JAMA. 2009;302(23):2552. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1833.
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