Ten Million Lives Saved Globally by Vaccination Since Hayflick’s 1962 Development of Normal Human Cell Strain for Safe Vaccine Production; Data Marshalled in Opposition to Anti-Vaccine Movement

Nearly 200 million cases of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, adenovirus, rabies, and hepatitis A (and approximately 450,000 deaths from these diseases) were prevented in the U.S. alone between 1963 and 2015 by vaccination, researchers estimate. The study was published online on February 28, 2017 in AIMS Public Health. In 1963, vaccination against these infections became widespread, thanks to the development of a human cell strain that allowed vaccines to be produced safely. Globally, the vaccines developed from this strain and its derivatives prevented an estimated 4.5 billion cases of disease and saved more than 10 million lives. Author S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health, was approached by co-author Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who wanted to know how many lives had been saved by his development of cell strain WI-38. Hayflick developed the normal human cell strain in 1962, and it has been used ever since to safely grow the viruses needed to produce vaccines against more than 10 diseases. Before then, many viral vaccines had been grown in monkey cells, but contamination with potentially dangerous monkey viruses forced an end to this form of production, leaving millions vulnerable to common diseases. "Given the acknowledged large, positive global health impact of vaccines in general, I was curious what contribution my discovery of WI-38 in 1962 had in saving lives and reducing morbidity, since a large number of viral vaccines in use today are made with my cell strain or its derivatives," Dr. Hayflick said. To determine the number of cases of disease and deaths prevented by vaccines developed using WI-38, Dr.
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