Global Health Chronicles

Dr. Neal Nathanson

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles


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00:00:00 - Training in epidemiology/work with Alex Langmuir

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Partial Transcript: So you had no training in epidemiology

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes about what it was like to train in epidemiology under Alexander Langmuir and early discoveries about flaws in the Cutter laboratory vaccines.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Berkeley, California; Cutter Laboratories; Cutter incident; polio vaccine

Subjects: EIS; NFIP; New York Times; Zika virus; epidemiology; public health

00:00:00 - Federal agency responses

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Partial Transcript: How was it that CDC was the agency that was chosen to do that surveillance?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes how CDC became the federal agency tasked with disease surveillance.

Keywords: Cutter Vaccine; Laboratory for Biologic Control

Subjects: CDC; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW); FDA; NIH; U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS); World War II; vaccine

00:00:00 - Other CDC persons involved in polio response

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Partial Transcript: Now, when you were at CDC, who else was involved from your [EIS] class?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about his EIS colleagues who were also involved in polio response.

Keywords: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Cutter laboratories; E. Diamond; Francis Field Trial; J. Hall; M. Lyle; epidemiologist

Subjects: American Journal of Hygiene; CDC; EIS; University of Michigan; University of Rochester

00:00:57 - Background and interest in public health/medicine

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Partial Transcript: To begin, I want to say welcome to Dr. Nathanson, and thank you for participating in this project.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about his path to EIS at CDC after medical school. He also talks about his work on polio at CDC following the success of the Francis Field trial.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Ann Arbor, Michigan; B. O'Connor; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Francis Field Trial; Salk vaccine; T. Grayston

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS); National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP); Polio; University of Chicago; University of Washington; epidemiology; public health

00:08:16 - Experience at CDC

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Partial Transcript: So you hadn't heard of the Communicable Disease Center before, or EIS?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson explains what it was like to arrive at CDC with limited public health or epidemiology training.

Keywords: Salk vaccine; polio vaccine

Subjects: CDC; EIS; epidemiology; polio; public health; virology

00:09:56 - Specialization in polio/technology of the time

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Partial Transcript: How did it happen that you began to specialize in polio?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson explains the creation of the polio surveillance unit and his experience working in polio surveillance. He also talks about the simplistic way data was collected and analyzed at the time.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Atlanta, GA; J. Hall; M. Lyle; Salk vaccine; acute paralytic polio; epidemiologist; polio surveillance unit; polio vaccine

Subjects: EIS; Polio; vaccine

00:20:56 - Pharmaceutical companies and vaccine protocol

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Partial Transcript: How many other pharmaceutical companies were there involved in vaccines?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes how other laboratories involved in the production of the Salk vaccine and protocol to ensure vaccine safety.

Keywords: J. Salk; Lily; Park Davis: Cutter Laboratories; inactivated virus

Subjects: NIH; Vaccine; food and drug administration (FDA); poliovirus

00:26:22 - Response at Cutter laboratory

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Partial Transcript: Were the people at Cutter concerned?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson explains the Cutter laboratory's response after it became clear they were producing contaminated vaccines. He also talks about challenges with the vaccine filtration and changes in safety protocol to combat the challenges.

Keywords: Cutter Incident; Cutter vaccine; filtration

Subjects: Vaccine

00:29:33 - National vaccine program termination

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Partial Transcript: That gets us up to the point where the immunization program had begun all over the country with five different pharmaceutical companies, including Cutter, and you said how long afterwards were the cases being noticed?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about the decision to terminate the national vaccine program in the U.S. and its effect on CDC's polio data collection.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Cutter vaccine; New York Times; Salk vaccine; polio vaccine

Subjects: CDC: vaccine

00:37:24 - Salk/Sabin lab reactions

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Partial Transcript: During this time, what was the reaction at the Salk lab?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about the reaction at the Salk lab to the Cutter incident. He also talks about the competitive relationship between the Sabin and Salk.

Keywords: A. Sabin; Berkeley, California; Cutter laboratories; Cutter vaccine; Francis Field Trial. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; J. Salk; J. Youngner; Sabin vaccine; Salk vaccine; San Francisco, California; influenza virus; virologist

Subjects: University of Pittsburgh

00:47:27 - Data analysis procedures/technology

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Partial Transcript: What kind of tools did you have to analyze the data?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about the data collection tools and methods of analysis used to analyze polio surveillance data.

Keywords: J. Hall

00:48:18 - Work after CDC

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Partial Transcript: You were at CDC for two years?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes his work in polio at Johns Hopkins after his time at CDC.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; A. Sabin; Atlanta. GA; Baltimore, Maryland; D. Bodian; J. Salk; polio vaccine

Subjects: CDC: EIS: Johns Hopkins; Ebola; Zika virus; epidemiology; polio virus; vaccine

00:54:28 - Sabin vaccine development and use

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Partial Transcript: So in the 1960s is when the Sabin vaccine started to be used?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson illustrates the decision to use the Sabin vaccine in the United Sates and how it differs from the Salk vaccine.

Keywords: A. Sabin; Sabin vaccine; Salk vaccine; United States; paralytic polio

Subjects: Polio

00:58:51 - Polio eradication efforts

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Partial Transcript: Suddenly, without anybody predicting it-and sort of interesting-in the early 1970s, and particularly about 1972, it suddenly became apparent that we had eradicated polio.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson recalls the origin of the idea to eradicate polio and the reasons why eradication is possible.

Keywords: C. de Quadros; Sabin vaccine; South America; Washington, DC; eradicate; immunize; polio virus; smallpox; vaccinate

Subjects: Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); World Health Organization (WHO); polio

01:03:05 - Testimony in vaccine trials

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Partial Transcript: Speaking of that, there was a case, Reyes v. Wyeth.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes vaccine-associated paralytic polio and its relationship to the polio vaccine. He also talks about what it was like to testify as an expert witness on polio in court.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Cutter incident; Sabin vaccine; vaccine-associated paralytic polio

Subjects: CDC; VAPP [vaccine-associated paralytic polio]; vaccine

01:07:55 - Collaboration efforts between labs at CDC

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Partial Transcript: Just to go back a little bit, do you remember if you worked with the lab at all?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson talks about laboratory politics within the epidemiology division at CDC and the importance of laboratorian response after the Cutter incident and Francis Field trial.

Keywords: Cutter incident; Francis Field Trial; M. Schaeffer; Montgomery, Alabama; Salk vaccine

Subjects: AIDS; CDC; epidemiology

01:12:22 - Politics of global polio eradication

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Partial Transcript: Through the years you've stayed involved and interested in polio.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson describes his work on polio at Johns Hopkins and his thoughts on the politics of global polio eradication.

Keywords: Afghanistan; D. Bodian; India; Nigeria; Sabin vaccine; Salk vaccine; polio eradication; politics

Subjects: Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; Polio; epidemiology; vaccine

01:17:54 - Perspective on AIDS epidemic/closing

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Partial Transcript: I've had you talking for over an hour, so I imagine you're getting tired

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nathanson shares his thoughts on the AIDS epidemic in the United States and his opinion of how best to solve it.

Keywords: P. Brachman; San Francisco Department of Public Health; San Francisco, CA; gay population; political; post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP); pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

Subjects: CDC; USPHS; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); polio; public health; vaccine