Medicine: Virus Hunters

Stockholm's Royal Caroline Institute last week honored two leading U.S. virologists, Drs. Baruch S. Blumberg and D. Carleton Gajdusek, by jointly awarding them the 1976 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine (total value: $162,140).

Blumberg, 51, of Philadelphia's Institute for Cancer Research, identified a blood-carried viral particle, "Australia antigen," associated with a debilitating liver disease, hepatitis B. His biomedical detective work, involving an aborigine's blood, not only led to a method of testing potential blood donors for hepatitis but also paved the way for an experimental antihepatitis vaccine.

Gajdusek, 53, of the National...

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