CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg

(Jul 28, 1925 – Apr 5, 2011)

💠American Physician and Geneticist

His contributions…

🔹Blumberg studied medicine at Columbia College of Physician and Surgeon and received his MD in 1951. He completed his Doctoral Degree in Biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford.

🔹He became a Medical Anthropologist in 1950. Then he travelled all over the world to collect blood samples to study the Genetic variations in human beings. He started his research with the question of “Why some people contract a disease in a given environment, while others do not.

🔹In 1967, he serendipitously discovered a Surface antigen of Hepatitis B virus in the blood sample of an Australian Aborigine and called it as “Australia Antigen.

🔹He further worked on Hepatitis B virus and found that it causes hepatic cancer.

🔹Subsequently, Dr. Blumberg and his team developed the Screening test for Hepatitis B. Thereby, they prevented the spread of virus in blood donations. He also developed the first vaccines to prevent infection in 1969. This vaccine is considered the First Cancer Vaccine.

🔹His continuous involvement and inspiration was led to the establishment of the “Hepatitis B Foundation.” It’s an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those infected by hepatitis B and for its cure worldwide.

🔹Consequently, he was honoured with many awards. In 1976, he was honoured with Nobel Prize of Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of Hepatitis B virus.

🔹He was also a Director of NASA Astrobiology Institute at California. There he helped in NASA’s search for extra-terrestrial life.

🔹Dr. Blumberg had started his career with search for inherited differences but his research landed with discovery of new virus. His intellectual curiosity in diagnosing and treating the disease saved the life of millions.

🔹In India, the Kalinga Gastroenterology Foundation (KGF) was founded by one of the eminent Gastroenterologist, Prof Dr. Shivaram Prasad Singh from SCB Medical College & Hospital in Cuttack. He is the Chairman of this Charitable Educational Trust. He is known for his efforts toward hepatitis B eradication in our country.

🔹Prof. S. P. Singh started observing Dr. Blumberg’s birthday – July 28th – as “World Hepatitis B Eradication Day” in 2001. Later, World Health Organisation (WHO) adopted World Hepatitis Day to increase awareness of viral hepatitis.

A Day to Commemorate…

The Hunter for a Killer Virus

Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg 🙏

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