Robbins, John Bennet

Robbins, John Bennet,

1932–2019, American physician and microbiologist, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., M.D. New York Univ., 1959. He did research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and taught at the Albert Einstein Medical School in New York before joining the National Institutes of Health (1970–2012). With Rachel Schneerson, Robbins developed a vaccine against bacterial meningitismeningitis
or cerebrospinal meningitis
, acute inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other organisms, usually introduced via the bloodstream from infections
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 (Haemophilus influenzae b, or Hib). Before the introduction of the Hib vaccine in 1989, the infection had affected thousands of infants and young children every year, leading to severe nerve system damage and often death. The Hib vaccine also was notable for being the first conjugate vaccine for human use; in it, a protein carrier from another bacteria is bonded with a Hib polysccharide to increase the immune system's response. He and Schneerson received the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 1996 for their work. They also contributed to the development of vaccines against typhoid fever, whooping cough, anthrax, and malaria.
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