CPFI & ACCP Join Together for Trunk-or-Treat Event

Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (CPFI) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) participated in the Trunk-or-Treat event at the Kroger in South Charleston on October 29th for American Pharmacist Month. The overarching theme of this event was the promotion of The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014.

FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s mission is to “improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.” The idea of this project is to allow every child (with or without food allergies) to experience the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, but in a safe way. At these events only non-food treats are offered such as glow sticks or small toys. In 2015, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. To take part in your home next Halloween—just place a teal pumpkin at your doorstep and FARE provides free printable signs to explain the meaning.

At this event, CPFI’s trunk theme was football, while ACCP decided to be superheroes. We provided the children glow sticks, fake insects, plastic jewels, and “Mr. Yuk” stickers. The “Mr. Yuk” stickers allowed us to explain to parents that it’s important to keep dangerous household (cleaning supplies, medications, insect repellants, etc) items away from their children. An easy way to do this is by placing a “Mr. Yuk” sticker on those items to alert the child that it is unsafe. As kids came to our trunk, we played beanbag toss, bowling, and other fun games. A member of CPFI also made a poster for American Pharmacist Month and this helped us to explain why UC students were participating in this trunk-or-treat.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

The poster opened up conversation about the importance of recognizing food allergies and how pharmacists can play a role in their allergy management. Those with food allergies are not only affected by what they can or cannot eat, but they must also be cautious about what medications they take as well. Although many people are unaware, some medications are made from food-sources. Examples of some medications made with foods include: inhalers made with peanuts and flu shots made with eggs. It is important to mention all allergies to doctors and/or pharmacists to avoid any dangerous reactions.

Over 200 kids came to the event and we were able to talk to many of their parents about household and medication safety. With this being such a success, we hope to continue participating and make this an annual CPFI tradition.

For more information about FARE’s project, you can visit foodallegy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.

Contributed by Sydney Sowell, CPFI Secretary, Class of 2019

AAPS & NCPA Host Health Fair for American Pharmacists Month

On October 29th, 2016 the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) along with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) chapters at UCSOP hosted a diabetes health fair at Fruth Pharmacy on Oakwood Road. This diabetes health fair was one of many events put together by the various organizations at UCSOP in honor of American Pharmacists’ Month.

While AAPS’s vision focuses on the development of products and therapies through research, a major part of their mission is to bring together all individuals involved in the pharmaceutical sciences in order to best serve patients. We saw this health fair as an opportunity to do just that. We were able to collaborate with students from other organizations that focus specifically on community pharmacy, but with whom we still share the ultimate goal of patient service.

“Through this health fair, we were able to embrace and exemplify the idea that while there are many facets and specialties within the field of pharmacy, we are all dedicated to the education and treatment of patients.”

At this event, AAPS and NCPA provided free blood glucose and blood pressure screenings to individuals in the Fruth Pharmacy store. Approximately 15 UCSOP students volunteered for this event between the two organizations. This event served as a great opportunity for P2 students to practice their newly-learned blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring skills on actual patients. P3s were able to use this an opportunity to interpret scores, as learned in our pharmacotherapy II class, and explain to patients their results.

AAPS & NCPA Students at Fruth at Oakwood Road's store hosting their health fair!

AAPS & NCPA Students at Fruth Pharmacy at Oakwood hosting their health fair!

During this health fair, we were able to serve approximately 30 patients. Many of these patients were highly engaged in their own health; they knew what medications they were taking and knew what their normal values were. These patients appreciated the opportunity to quickly test their blood pressure and blood glucose to make sure they were reaching their goals. However, we also interacted with patients who had very little knowledge of blood glucose and blood pressure screenings. With these patients, we had the chance to educate them on why each test was important and explain consequences of high readings. There were also patients who understood the screening methods and knew they were diagnosed with diabetes, but did not seem to take their diagnoses seriously. These patients mentioned having family histories of diabetes and seemed to think that it was inevitable that they too develop diabetes. For these patients, we stressed the importance of taking medications as prescribed and regularly checking their blood glucose and blood pressure.

This health fair served as an opportunity to reach out to the Charleston community. Through this event, we were able to educate members of our community, bring attention to our school of pharmacy, and promote the profession of pharmacy. AAPS and NCPA, two organizations that may not seem to be associated, were able work together and support one another.

Contributed by: Suyasha Pradhan, AAPS Vice-President, Class of 2018

White Coats on the Bridge

Every October is American Pharmacist Month and as such, the whole month is filled with activities at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. Each pharmacy organization and class sponsors at least one American Pharmacist Month event to help spread the word and educate people regarding the different aspects of pharmacy.  From medication therapy management to administering vaccinations, it is pharmacist’s job to let people know that pharmacists can do so much more than just count pills!


UCSOP students on the Southside Bridge, Charleston WV

This year, the class of 2018 in coordination with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student chapter and UCSOP Class of 2020, hosted an event called “White Coats on the Bridge”. On Tuesday, October 11th, student pharmacists from every current class at UCSOP and UC’s mascot, Mo Harv the Golden Eagle, gathered in their white coats on the side of the Southside Bridge between MacCorkle Avenue and Virginia Street in Charleston to help spread awareness and celebrate American Pharmacists Month. As people drove by on their way home from work that evening, students waved signs promoting UCSOP, encouraging people to talk to their pharmacist about their medications, and just supporting the profession of pharmacy overall.

The event took place during the beginning of flu-season, so students took advantage of the opportunity to encourage people to get their annual influenza vaccination. Using signs like “Don’t get spooked by the flu” and “Honk if You Got Your Flu Shot”, students were able to interact with the passers-by and educate them in a fast and effective way. My favorite sign of the evening however, simply said, “Honk if you love your pharmacist” and over the course of the two hours we were there, well over 300 cars let out a friendly honk as they drove by!

At UCSOP, we are constantly looking for new and different ways to educate patients on all of the different things that their pharmacist can do for them, and “White Coats on the Bridge” is something that we had never done before. Overall, it was a beautiful evening for the event, and we all had a ton of fun getting the word out about American Pharmacists Month in a new and exciting way. The best part though, was definitely the support we received from the public. As cars drove by, drivers and their passengers would honk and wave, and you could see the smiles on their faces. If nothing else, it felt good just knowing that a group of student pharmacists made an impact and brightened someone’s day. The hope is that this becomes an annual event that grows throughout the years at UCSOP.

Contributed by Ryan Nolan, Class of 2018 President

The Dark History of Research: The Monster Experiment

Contributed by Grandee Dang, Class of 2019

Throughout the course of history, great strides in medicinal discoveries have led to longer life spans and disease prevention. From Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine that nearly eradicated the crippling polio disease, to the varicella vaccine still used to day, such monumental discoveries will continue to leave a beacon of hope within the field of health and science (1). However, on the borders that lie beyond that bright beacon of hope are dark patches in medicinal history that so many have either forgotten or have yet unearth. One dark patch is an Iowa study that was also known as the “Monster Experiment” in which several orphan children with speech impediments underwent a social experiment in hopes of correcting their stuttering behavior (2).  The outcome of such experimentation brought forth the ethical issues regarding case studies and the subject matter being observed. Furthermore, the fact that children were the primary participants, the controversy of long term or irreversible psychological damages became the forefront of debate and conversation.


The Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage (4)

In 1938 at the University of Iowa, American psychologist Wendell Johnson and his subordinate Mary Tudor conducted an experiment to observe how different approaches in social therapy would affect a child’s outcome within their speech (2). The pools of twenty-two participants were selected from Iowa’s “Sailors and Soldiers Orphanage,” in which the children were led to believe that they would undergo a form of “speech therapy” (2). Five of Mary Tudor’s colleagues agreed to act as judges in encouraging any positive behaviors or isolating any negative speech patterns (2). Ten children from the pool of twenty-two that were deemed as “stutterers” from the orphanage were subdivided into two subgroups, group 1A and group 1B. Those who have fallen under group 1A were told that “they were not stutterers” and those under group 1B were “endorsed the label” as “stutterers” by the judges (2). The remaining twelve children had no history of speech impediments, but were subdivided into two groups (2A and 2B) that underwent the same labeling and behavioral encouragement from the judges. The study was designed to observe how direct encouragement and “labeling” would affect a child’s speech patterns (2).  Essentially Tudor wanted to see if labeling a child as a “stutterer” or “non-stutter” would have any changes to those who had a speech impediment versus those who had normal speech behaviors (2). The judges would encourage positive reinforcement among the 1A and 2B sub groups while the 1B and 2A sub groups were often isolated or directly projected as having “a great deal of trouble” in speech regardless whether or not they had a speech impediment (2).

The experiment ultimately left several of the children with detrimental psychological effects. Norma Jean Pugh was a six-year-old participant with no speech impediment prior to the experiment, however after the studies were conducted, she “could barely speak” (3).  Nine year-old Elizabeth Ostert among other children noticed a “plummet” in academic performance and became recluse due to “fear of speaking” (3). The monster experiment showed when issues of ethics are not navigated thoroughly, the ending results can fall off course into inhumane consequences. The foundation of new therapies and medicinal advances is rooted in cases studies and experimentation. However, when the progress of medicine overshadows human ethics, the field of health and sciences becomes the very monsters they wish to eradicate.


  1. “About Jonas Salks – Salk Institute for Biological Studies”. Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Retrieved 2016-10-25. <http://www.salk.edu/about/history-of-salk/jonas-salk/&gt;
  1. Tudor, Mary (1939).An Experimental Study of the Effect of Evaluative Labeling of Speech Fluency. University of Iowa. Retrieved 2016-10-25. <http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6264&context=etd&gt;
  1. Dyer, Jim.”Ethic and Orphans: ‘The Monster Study'”. Mercury News. Mercury News. Retrieved 25 September  http://wwwpsych.stanford.edu/~bigopp/stutter2.html
  1. “Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home”. Wikimedia Commons. Free Media Historic Repository. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_Soldiers%27_Orphans%27_Home#/media/File:Iowa_Soldiers%27_Orphans%27_Home_Administration_Building_01.JPG&gt;

Historical Perspectives: Father of Vaccine Development

Contributed by Hassan Aboutaam, Class of 2019

Many people are very grateful for the work of Maurice Hilleman, who can be credited with helping many lives. “Dr. Hilleman probably saved more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century, said two medical leaders, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Paul A. Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (Lawrence K. Altman 2005)”. He helped develop around 40 vaccines, 8 of which are recommended, including those for chicken pox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, and rubella.

Dr. Hilleman was the youngest of eight children and grew up on a farm in Miles City, Montana.  Working with chickens as a young boy really contributed to his success, since the 1930s fertile chicken eggs have often been used to grow viruses for vaccines. With the help of family and scholarships, he graduated with a doctoral degree in microbiology in 1944 and wrote his doctoral thesis on chlamydia infections, where he showed that these infections were caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis.



Dr. Hilleman’s first accomplishment happened after joining E.R Squibb & Sons, where he led the development of a vaccine against Japanese B encephalitis, which treated troops in the Pacific area after World War 2. Dr. Hilleman was also the chief of Respiratory Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1948-1957. During that time, he invented the term shift and drift, which occurs when the influenza virus mutates. This discovery helped create forty million doses of vaccines during the 1957 outbreak of influenza in Hong King which saved many lives.

In 1957, Hilleman joined Merck & Co. in the virus and cell biology research department. He developed forty experimental and licensed animal and human vaccines. In 1963, he made the mumps vaccine by cultivating material from his daughter Jeryl Lynn, who was sick with the mumps. Today, the Jerly Lynn strain is still used, as well as the MMR vaccine, which he also discovered. Furthermore, by treating blood serum with pepsin, urea, and formaldehyde, Hilleman and his group invented a vaccine for hepatitis B. However, it was replaced by a vaccine that was produced in yeast, which is still used today. The disease is believed to have decreased by 95% in the United States. Dr. Hilleman had a major goal of developing a vaccine against any viral cancer. In the 1970’s, he revolutionized the poultry industry by developing a vaccine to prevent Marek’s disease, which was a lymphoma cancer of chickens.  He continued on to become an advisor to the world health organization. After his retirement in 1984, he directed the Merck Institute of Vaccinolgy for 20 years before he died on April 11, 2005.

 Works Cited

“Lawrence K. Altman, Maurice Hilleman, Master in Creating Vaccines, Dies at 85, The New York Times, n.p., April 12, 2015”

 “Hilleman, Maurice Ralph.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2006. (2006). Hilleman, Maurice Ralph. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2550300079.html











Fighting TB: The Baccillus Calmette-Guerin Vaccine

Contributed by Leila Fleming, Class of 2019

calmetteguerinTwo French born scientists, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin, developed the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine.  It is often referred to as the BCG vaccine, an immunization against tuberculosis (TB).  Albert Calmette was born in Paris in 1933 and was a pupil of Louis Pasteur.  He is also credited with developing a diagnostic test for tuberculosis.  His co-developer, Camille Guerin actually studied to be a veterinarian.  Guerin’s father died of tuberculosis in 1882 as well as his wife in 1918.  This loss presumably motivated Guerin in his work toward a vaccine.

The two found that successive cultures of the bacteria weakened it enough that it could produce an immune response but not illness.  Their research began in 1905 but was interrupted by the upheaval of the First World War.  The vaccine was first used in humans in 1921.

By the late 1920’s the vaccine had reached numerous countries.  The BCG vaccine has been a source of some controversy.  In 1930, over two hundred infants were given a contaminated batch of the vaccine.  Seventy-two children developed TB and died.  Criminal charges were filed and two employees of the lab that manufactured this batch were sent to prison for their negligence.  While the vaccine was not to blame, this did cause a blemish on its reputation.

Today, the vaccine is widely used in children as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) immunization program. The BCG is not recommended for Americans but it still in use in many countries with higher risk of contracting the infection. Tuberculosis is prevalent in South-East Asia, the Western Pacific and Africa.  The BCG remains the only available vaccine against TB.



“Albert Calmette | French Bacteriologist”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“BCG Vaccine | Current Use & Safety”. TB Facts.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“BCG Vaccine | Medicine”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.


“Camille Guerin | French Biologist”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“Camille Guérin”. Wikipedia. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“History Of The BCG Vaccine | Calmette, Guerin, Lubeck”. TB Facts.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“Timeline”. Tuberculosis: <br />Finding a Cure. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Sept. 2016. (photo)

“Tuberculosis (TB)”. World Health Organization. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.



Historical Perspectives: Maurice Brodie & The Fight Against Polio

Contributed by Brandon Gray, Class of 2019

Maurice Brodie was a young Canadian researcher that was hired by the University of New York in 1935 because of his knowledge and current work on a killed-virus polio vaccine.  He was recruited by William H. Park who was a professor of bacteriology at the University of New York Medical School.  This recruitment greatly helped in solving a medical breakthrough regarding the horrible disease of polio.

Brodie’s work along with his ideas had potential, which is a large reason why he was recruited by New York University.  He used the nerve tissue of infected monkeys to extract the virus, which turned out to be the only available source.  Brodie attempted to deactivate the virus by injecting a formaldehyde agent without ruining its ability to produce antibodies that would fight the disease.  However, not much was known at this time about the polio virus.  Even though there was not much known about polio at the time, Brodie still had the support of Park, which gave him the boost of confidence that was needed to attack this disease.


Maurice Brodie (pinterest.com)

Having the support of Park meant that Brodie had access to funding and guidance.  First, Brodie quarantined 20 monkeys with his vaccine, and several of the monkeys showed promising results.  This is because they produced antibodies against the polio virus that was inactivated.  Also, not one monkey contracted polio.  At this point, Brodie was under the impression that his vaccine was completely safe.  Therefore, he gave himself and five colleagues the vaccine, and then gave it to several children whom created polio antibodies without developing polio.

After all this success, Brodie was highly confident in his vaccine.  As a result of being so confident, a year later, Brodie gave thousands of children his vaccine.  In November 1935, Maurice Brodie was given the opportunity to report his results to several doctors and scientists in St. Louis, Missouri.  His trial had included vaccinated and un-vaccinated children, and also a control group, which helped Brodie see if he was actually successful or not.  Brodie’s statistics included that his vaccine was “88% effective” in preventing polio.  After this meeting, Brodie was relieved from his job at New York University and was not able to contribute to polio research again.  Maurice Brodie died at the very young age of thirty-six in May 1939.

In conclusion, Maurice Brodie was a brilliant individual who was one of the first to develop a polio vaccine.  Brodie greatly advanced the research of the polio disease. He was the first to successfully deactivate the polio virus by using a formaldehyde agent.  His research showed great success in the fact that in children, when given the vaccine, developed polio antibodies that would fight the disease.  After Brodie’s trials had concluded, it was several years before anyone had tried to make a further advance in the field.  Jonas Salk was the one who used Brodie’s ideas and findings to further help advance the field.  If it wasn’t for Maurice Brodie and his advancement in this field, the accomplishments that were further made with the eradication of polio may not have happened as quickly.

Works Cited:

1.”The Cutter Incident”. Google Books. N.p., 2005. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

2. “Poliomyelitis: A Brief History”. Eds-resources.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

3. Dagutis, Schalene, Schalene Dagutis, and View profile. “Polio — The Summer Scourge”. Tangledrootsandtrees.blogspot.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.






Past, Present and Future of HIV Vaccine Development

Contributed by Allison Adams, Class of 2019

Since 1984, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been identified to be the cause of AIDS. At that time, Margaret Heckler, the U.S. HHS Secretary, was confident that there would be an effective vaccine ready for testing within the upcoming years. By 1987, the National Institute of Health (NIH) held the first HIV vaccine clinical trial testing the protein called gp160. The trials were quickly diminished however, due to the lack of scientific advancements at the time. The following year, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases started enrollment in Phase I clinical trials and was able to launch Phase II in 1992 that included patients with a high-risk behavioral past who were not yet infected.  By 1993, NIAID combined forces with HIVNET and began striving to start Phase III trials (2).

aidsWhile the progress on this front continued, in 1998, VaxGen Inc. began conducting the world’s first Phase III clinical trials with their product, AIDSVAX. Unfortunately, the results gathered in 2004 were dismal; no efficacy for prevention was detected. By 2009, there were promising results from a Phase III trial on a combination vaccine being conducted in Thailand known as the RV144 using gp120. In those results, four out of ten HIV infections were prevented that would have otherwise happened. While this just 31% efficacious, it left scientists under the impression that there were further opportunities for this vaccine (2).

Continuous studies were made and by 2012, scientists were beginning to use samples from RV144 to try and get a better understanding on what type of immune response that might be needed for an effective vaccine. Building upon these analyses, a Phase I/II study began in 2015 on the vaccine called HVTN 100 (1). This study is to continue on until January 2017 and has already been approved for Phase III efficacy trials (HVTN 702 modified from HVTN 100) based on the interim results from July of 2016.

The latest modification in the vaccine, an adjuvant called MF59, has been added in order to increase the vaccine’s strength as well as the protein involved to match the most common strain of HIV located in South Africa, where the efficacy trials will be taking place (3). HVTN 702 is also known as ALVAC-HIV and is scheduled to start in November 2016.

If these trials can produce results at least 50% efficacious, HVTN 702 will become a licensed preventative HIV vaccine. With the technological advancements that have been made in the past fifty years, the world is teetering on the verge of success in creating a vaccine that will have the capability to prevent a multitude of HIV infections each year (3).


  1. (2016). Avac.org. Retrieved 26 September 2016, from http://www.avac.org/trial/hvtn-100
  2. History of HIV Vaccine Research | NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2016). Niaid.nih.gov. Retrieved 26 September 2016, from https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/hiv-vaccine-research-history
  3. HVTN 702 is a “Go” Uhambo continues. (2016). Hvtn.org. Retrieved 26 September 2016, from http://www.hvtn.org/en/community/community-compass/current-issue/cc-current-article2.html


Historical Perspectives: The Tuskegee Experiment

Contributed by Michael Okebugwu, Class of 2019

The Tuskegee Experiment which was one of the most infamous acts by doctors and the United States Public Health Services instilled syphilis to groups of African American men in Macon, Alabama. The Tuskegee Experiment occurred from 1932-1972.

Over 200 men did not have the syphilis, while 198 African American men had the disease. The men did not receive an informed consent about the study, nor did the doctors disclosed to the test subjects what the study was pertaining to. The study was basically giving African Americans males syphilis in order to deduce what the disease would do to them in a long period of time. This is part of American history because it has caused the African Americans to mistrust the government and health care professionals.



The men had a right to be informed that they had syphilis and the government and the doctors had a responsibility to convey the nature of the experiment. Moreover, it is the law for doctors to treat patients to the best of their abilities, but the doctors did not treat the test subjects even after the cure for syphilis was discovered. The American government had a duty to protect the public. However, they did not perform their duty and as a result the men were deprived of their rights. The vicious element in this experiment was that the United States Public Health Service had the treatment for syphilis, however, they did not treat the patients even in the 1940s when the standard treatment for syphilis was penicillin. The research study continued for forty years.  It was clandestine because the test subjects were oblivious of their illnesses and the American government did not treat these patients after the experiment was concluded. At the completion of the research, only 74 test-subjects survived the experiment. The patients gave their wives syphilis and their children were born with congenital syphilis.  The doctors pragmatically used African American males as guinea pigs to gather research regarding the long-term effects of syphilis on their health.

Additionally, the experiment created an adjustment in our society because we now have laws and protocols when using humans as test subjects. This incident changed the laws in medical practices, which in eventually affected pharmacy practices. It created the Belmont Report Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research in 1979 which protected the rights of the individuals who are participating in any form of research. The government passed the National Research Act, which created a commission to write regulations governing human test subjects.

The Tuskegee Experiment is significant to the pharmacist as well as the history of America because patients’ trust in health care professionals shifted from doctors to pharmacist. African Americans qualm doctor and question the motives of doctors. This are reason why pharmacists have become the most trusted health professionals in the United States. Pharmacists do not benefit from patients when we give recommendations on over the counter medicines. We do this simply because we care for the health of our patients. We are the drug experts and we are very accessible; we are responsible in aiding African Americans to recoup our trust as health care professionals. The incident of the Tuskegee Experiment has developed laws to be more stringent and considerate with people’s lives when dealing with research protocols because it is ethically and morally unacceptable for the heinous act of experimentation to be executed on the human species.


  1. Manolakis, P. G., & Skelton, J. B. (2010). Pharmacists’ contributions to primary care in the United States collaborating to address unmet patient care needs: the emerging role for pharmacists to address the shortage of primary care providers. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), S7. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21436916
  2. The Legacy of Tuskegee – TheBody.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebody.com/content/art30946.html
  3. Tuskegee Study – Research Implications – CDC – NCHHSTP. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/after.htm
  4. Clinical Trials Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ictd2015.lillycoi.com/ 






Emil Von Behring: “Savior of Children”

Contributed by Alan Lam, Class of 2019

The year is 1890 and tetanus continues to tighten its grip amidst the populace. Everyone was vulnerable to this disease and in particular children. With no cure, the disease reaped one out of ten victims.2 This disease was widely known as lockjaw for its modality of tightening the muscles. This process begins in the upper jaw and gradually advances to the rest of the body.3 Eventually, the contraction of muscles would fracture the very bones that support the body.4 The disease was a torment to the body and mind as it idled for weeks, causing the victims to suffer before leaving them paralyzed in pain or culminating in death.5

Another disease during this period known as diphtheria further preyed heavily upon children resulting in the death of half of those in contact with the disease.6 Complications from diphtheria led to blockage of the airway, damage to the heart muscle, and damage to nerve tissues resulting in paralysis and lung infections.7

Fortunately, 1890 was also the year in which tetanus and diphtheria would be rivaled with the promise of a vaccine.8 During this year, Emil Von Behring, would produce a working antitoxin to dismantle both tetanus and diphtheria. The modality in which the bacteria were able to cause disease was well known at the time. Tetanus and diphtheria are caused by bacteria Clostridium tetani and Corynebacterium diphtheria respectively.3 9 Both diseases relied on the ability of the bacteria to produce toxins in the body.10 This concept of toxins in the body became the focal point of Emil Von Behring’s research. During his experiments, Behring established that toxins are transferable between animals.11 This insight became the foundation for an antitoxin to tetanus and diphtheria. The technique of transferring blood serum of treated animals allowed Behring to design an antitoxin that would serve as a cure to both tetanus and diphtheria. Antitoxin treatments would ultimately evolve to become modern day vaccines. The diseases of tetanus and diphtheria is not just a relic of the past. These diseases still plague humanity today and thereupon antitoxins are still used today in the form of Tdap (tetanus diphtheria and pertussis) vaccines.

Emil von Behring’s work became the salvation from the death and suffering caused by the diseases of tetanus and diphtheria that plagued humanity for centuries. In recognition of Behring’s achievement in medicine, he was awarded the first “Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901” for the discovery of antitoxins to treat tetanus and diphtheria.12 Furthermore, Behring has been revered as a “saviour of children”, considering diphtheria had claimed the lives of half the children who had the disease.13

The discovery of the antitoxin by Emil von Behring has historical significance, but also encompasses modern relevance. Behring has pioneered a novel approach to vaccines by adopting the use of antitoxins. These methods are still utilized today to produce vaccines that curtail tetanus and diphtheria. Behring has contributed remarkably to the pharmaceutical industry by adding two more vaccines to its repertoire. Furthermore, Behring’s antitoxin would grant pharmacists the ability to save lives in America by administering Tdap vaccinations in pharmacies to millions of Americans each year.


  1. Emil von Behring – Biographical. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1901/behring-bio.html.
  2. Kantha SS. A centennial review; the 1890 tetanus antitoxin paper of von Behring and Kitasato and the related developments. Keio J Med. 1991;40(1):35-39. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2046211. Accessed September 24, 2016.
  3. Pinkbook | Tetanus | Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases | CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/tetanus.html.
  4. Tetanus | Kid-friendly Fact Sheet | Lockjaw | CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/bam-villain-for-kids-fs.html.
  5. Tetanus Shot, Symptoms, and Treatment. http://www.medicinenet.com/tetanus/article.htm.
  6. Diphtheria | About | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/diphtheria/about/index.html.
  7. Diphtheria | Complications | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/diphtheria/about/complications.html.
  8. Vaccine History: Developments by Year | The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-history/developments-by-year#.V-gMp5MrJp8.
  9. Pinkbook | Diphtheria | Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases | CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/dip.html.
  10. Committee I of M (US) VS, Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Richard B. Johnston J. Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids. 1994.
  11. Emil von Behring: The Founder of Serum Therapy. https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1901/behring-article.html.
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  13. saviour of children – hiscistories. http://www.hiscistories.co.uk/index.php/tag/saviour-of-children/.