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Maurice HillemanMaurice Hilleman died yesterday. Dr Hilleman was a researcher at Merck & Co until 1984, played a key role in the development of many vaccines, including mumps, measles, chickenpox, pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases, saving tens of millions of lives.

Working for a private pharmaceutical company, Dr Hilleman probably saved more lives than any other scientist in the 20th Century, working with his team from Merck of Whitehouse Station, N.J. His role in their development included lab work as well as scientific and administrative leadership. His colleagues said he routinely credited others for their roles in advances.

According to the New York Times:

"The scientific quality and quantity of what he did was amazing," Dr. Fauci [director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] said. "Just one of his accomplishments would be enough to have made for a great scientific career. One can say without hyperbole that Maurice changed the world with his extraordinary contributions in so many disciplines: virology, epidemiology, immunology, cancer research and vaccinology."

You can read a profile of Dr Hilleman here.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.