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December 16, 2009

Developers of the Hepatitis B Vaccine—Reply

JAMA. 2009;302(23):2552. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1833

In Reply: Dr Braillon provides a reminder of the pioneering efforts of Philippe Maupas of the University of Tours before his sudden death in 1981. I was fortunate to have had Maupas and his colleagues as good friends in the stimulating world of early hepatitis B virus (HBV) research.

Maupas was among the many contributors to the successful development of the HBV vaccine. My commentary focused on the contributions of Maurice Hilleman and his colleagues since it was a celebration of their first publication on this successful pioneering vaccine that became the basis for the eventual World Health Organization HBV control program as the first human cancer vaccine. Other important early contributors included Saul Krugman, who was the first person to make an HBV vaccine when he showed that heat-inactivated HBV-containing sera induced a durable protective immune response; and Robert Purcell at the National Institutes of Health, who also developed an independent early HBV vaccine. The important efforts of Maupas were carried on for many years after his death by his Tours colleagues Pierre Coursaget and Alain Goudeau and became the basis of the HBV vaccine development of the Institut Pasteur in Paris.