Global Health Chronicles

Susan Kennedy

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles
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1:08 - Education and Background

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Partial Transcript: Could you start off maybe by telling us a little bit about where you grew up and your early family life?

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy shares her education and background that led her to her first laboratory job, and how she became a guest researcher in Steve McDougal’s laboratory.

Keywords: A. Ragab; activist; B. Jones; City Commission; D. Gordon; J. S. McDougal; Rome, Georgia; science teacher; women

Subjects: Arthritis Foundation; CDC; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Egleston Children’s Hospital; Eli Lilly and Company; Grady Memorial Hospital; leukemia; Medical College of Georgia; Oxford College of Emory University

6:58 - Research at CDC

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Partial Transcript: Tell us a little bit, expand little bit; you said you were a guest researcher working for the Arthritis Foundation. If you could expand a little bit about that, and maybe tell us a little bit how that fit into Steve McDougal’s lab.

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy explains her position as a guest researcher in the lab at CDC and the antibody testing standardization McDougal’s lab created. Kennedy describes what it was like to work in the laboratories 30 years ago.

Keywords: antibody testing; B. Evatt; commercial tests; D. Gordon; Division of Host Factors; DOS [Microsoft Disk Operating System]; E. Tan; ELISA [enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay] assays; F. McDuffie; Immunology Branch; mainframe computer; rheumatologist; S. Isoke; standardized reference sera

Subjects: Arthritis Foundation; CDC

17:13 - T-cell Counts

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Partial Transcript: You’re arriving three months before the first MMWR and just beginning to do this work on developing standards for rheumatological disease testing. It’s not soon after that, that things start to percolate in terms of these unusual cases popping up.

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy describes how the lab at CDC used state of the art technology to do antibody testing on some of the earliest cases of AIDS and how they were able to see these cases had very low numbers of T-helper cells.

Keywords: animals; antibodies; B. Jones; blocking; C. Dawson; CD4 cell; CD8 cell; D. Cross; FACS; first samples; flow cytometer; fluorescent-activated cell sorter; immune system; J. Carter; J. McDougal; J. Nicholson; Los Angeles; lymphocytes; New York City; reporters; S. Orloff; susceptible; T-helper cells

Subjects: AJC; anti-HIV antibody; Atlanta Journal Constitution; CDC; glycoprotein; gp120; HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; immunoprecipitation; leukemia; Science; Western blot

35:34 - Testing Techniques

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Partial Transcript: What I’d like to talk a little bit about what you said was your particular area of specialty expertise, the Western blot.

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy provides details regarding the evolution of testing for AIDS, beginning with the subjectivity of the Western blot.

Keywords: 1978; accuracy; B. Evatt; C. Schable; CDC employee; coagulation disorders; commercial blot; death sentence; diagnosis; disrupted virus; E. M. Southern; electrophoresis technique; ELISA assay; end-stage AIDS; epidemiological study; first positive; French isolate; G. Schochetman; hemophiliac samples; immunology group; J. McDougal; LAV; Lymphadenopathy virus; proteins; R. George; rapid tests; RNA; S. Browning; serial samples; state health departments; T cells; trans-blot; V. Tsang; virologist; Western blot

Subjects: CDC; Institut Pasteur; National Institutes of Health; NIH

49:51 - Training State Health Departments

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Partial Transcript: Speaking of state health departments, your work examining hundreds, thousands of these specimens and figuring out ultimately through diagnostic criteria to call a blot positive or not, then wasn’t it the next step to push out this testing to state public health laboratories?

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy explains how she along with the help of CDC’s Division of Training taught classes on confirmation tests to state health departments, and some of the challenges to that training.

Keywords: 1985; 1987; classes; commercial kits; Division of Training; ELISA; K. Handcock; M. Wilson; S. Whaley; training lab; V. Tsang

Subjects: CDC

56:08 - Hemophiliacs

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Partial Transcript: I think you mentioned an astounding observation that the vast majority of these persons with hemophilia ended up acquiring HIV infection. That was because—

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy explains how AIDS could spread so quickly to hemophiliac patients who used concentrated cryoprecipitate and how Steve McDougal figured out a way to make the concentrate safer.

Keywords: AIDS epidemic; B. Evatt; clotting factor; concentrate; cryoprecipitate; exposure; Factor VIII; hemophiliacs; J. S. McDougal; Seattle, Washington

Subjects: Alpha Therapeutic Corporation; Canada; Cutter Laboratories; Puget Sound Blood Center

60:32 - Inactivating HIV

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Partial Transcript: You did some of the work that looked at ways to inactivate the virus with household bleach?

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy shares how her lab was able to inactivate the virus by using bleach and explains "The Killer Tomato Project".

Keywords: 10% bleach; alcohol; bleach; blood; capture assay; dilutions; disinfecting; fruits and vegetables; H. Jaffe; infect; inject; J. McDougal; kill; L. Martin; log reduction; no-win situation; pH study; quantitate virus; S. Isoke; S. Orloff; T. Spira; tomatoes; unexplained lymphadenopathy patients; W. Roper

Subjects: CDC; FDA; Food and Drug Administration

70:23 - Working Environment

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Partial Transcript: It strikes me now that this must have just been a tremendous volume of work for a relatively small number of people.

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy shares her experiences and stories of the camaraderie in Steve McDougal’s lab.

Keywords: 70%; A. Mawle; aerosol; airborne; all women; antiretroviral; busy; camaraderie; cell cultures; controlled environment; D. Cross; every six months; exposure; fun; growth; iceberg; in-house; infected; J. Jason; J. McDougal; J. Nicholson; L. Martin; live virus; medical technologist; nickname; positive; pregnant; samples; self-monitoring; Serum Bank; T. Spira; testing; three-times-a-day gatherings; urgent; virology; weekend work; worry

Subjects: CDC

79:59 - Closing Remarks

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Partial Transcript: Just a few questions in closing, before we wrap this up.

Segment Synopsis: Ms. Kennedy expresses her desire to have seen more awareness or education of the epidemic earlier but believes in general, all of CDC was doing what it could..

Keywords: administration; awareness; biological safety cabinets; education; gay men; hybridoma lab; laboratory; M. Bird; M. Hubbard; moving fast; retired; S. Isoke; S. McDougal; small group; stopped

Subjects: AIDS; CDC; The Arthritis Foundation