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About Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg

blumbergBaruch S. Blumberg, MD, DPhil, had immense curiosity and energy that were hallmarks of his scientific persona. Described as a leading light in the scientific community and a great humanitarian, Dr. Blumberg identified the hepatitis B virus and created the first vaccine to prevent infection with the virus.

Following decades of research aimed at determining why some people become sick and others did not and travelling to remote areas around the world, Dr. Blumberg identified the antigen for hepatitis B in the blood of an Australian aborigine in 1964. This surface antigen, or immune response trigger for the virus, led to identification of the complete hepatitis B virus and to its role in causing acute and chronic hepatitis and liver cancer.

Once the virus and its antigen were identified, Dr. Blumberg and his team developed tests to detect it. This breakthrough resulted in the accurate diagnosis of affected individuals, protection of the blood supply, and development of a vaccine. By preventing chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer, the vaccine became the first “anti-cancer” vaccine. For his discovery of the hepatitis B virus, Dr. Blumberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1976.

Dr. Blumberg played a critical role in establishing the Hepatitis B Foundation in 1991, lending his personal support and stature to continue his seminal work through this nonprofit research and disease advocacy organization. As Co-Founder and Distinguished Scientist, Dr. Blumberg provided valuable experience, guidance and inspiration over 20 years to all of the scientists, staff, volunteers and board members until his death on April 5, 2011.