Stanley Plotkin: Pioneering the use of fetal cells to make rubella vaccine



After witnessing the devastating birth defects, miscarriages, and pregnancy terminations due to rubella infections in the 1960s, Dr. Stanley Plotkin worked to develop a vaccine to prevent such suffering. He chose to grow his vaccine virus in human fetal cells in an effort to avoid viral contamination recently discovered in animal cells used to make the polio vaccine. But his use of human fetal cells would draw criticism from various fronts, threatening to keep his life-saving technology from helping those who needed it.

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