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1998 King Faisal International Prize for Medicine

Dr. Robert H. Purcell, head of the hepatitis viruses section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received the 1998 King Faisal International Prize for Medicine in a special ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Feb. 14. He shares the prize with Dr. John L. Gerin, director of the molecular virology and immunology division at Georgetown University Medical Center, who has received NIAID support for many years. The two scientists, working in close collaboration, have devoted much of their research careers to the discovery, identification and characterization of various hepatitis viruses, and to development of diagnostic tests, treatments and preventive measures for hepatitis. They were key in the development of the hepatitis A vaccine that is in use worldwide and have also developed a hepatitis E vaccine that is now in preclinical studies. Purcell and Gerin continue to collaborate on studies of mutual interest: testing a candidate hepatitis B vaccine in China; discovery of a new strain of hepatitis D virus in the jungles of Brazil; and studies on the epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in Pakistan.

NIAID's Division of Microbiology
and Infectious Diseases Honored

NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases was recently honored by the Food and Drug Administration with the Outstanding Unit Citation for PHS Commissioned Corps officers. Civilian team members were honored last year with the FDA Commissioner's Special Citation. DMID was cited for "exceeding the limits of duty" in assisting the review of an NIAID-sponsored acellular pertussis vaccine trial. Dr. Kathryn C. Zoon, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) congratulates NIAID's Dr. George T. Curlin (l), acting director of DMID, and Dr. William C. Blackwelder, chief of the Biometry Branch, DMID. The NIAID team's knowledge of the complex data sets assisted CBER in completion of successful and timely statistical and clinical reviews.

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