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The Michael Heidelberger Papers

Letter from Richard G. Hodges, United States Army Air Forces to Michael Heidelberger pdf (70,523 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Richard G. Hodges, United States Army Air Forces to Michael Heidelberger
During World War II Heidelberger served as a member of the Pneumonia Commission established by the Board for the Investigation and Control of Influenza and Other Infectious Diseases (later the Army Epidemiological Board) under the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army. The Commission, headed by Colin MacLeod, a microbiologist and co-discoverer of the genetic properties of DNA, organized a trial of a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia developed by Heidelberger. The trial, carried out among 20,000 trainees at an air base in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, proved that a vaccine made from a mixture of purified capsular polysaccharides from four different types of pneumococcus (types I, II, V, and VII) provided effective protection against pneumonia when compared with a control group which received saline solution, and which had a higher incidence of the disease. As Hodges, who oversaw the study on site, reported in this letter, not a single soldier who had been immunized had contracted the disease, compared with ten who had been given saline solution.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (70,523 Bytes)
1945-01-02 (January 2, 1945)
Hodges, Richard G.
[United States Army Air Forces]
Heidelberger, Michael
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Exhibit Category:
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
Metadata Record [Lab notes from a vaccine trial at Sioux Falls Army Air Field] [1944-1945] pdf (273,909 Bytes)
Metadata Record Letter from Richard G. Hodges, United States Army Air Forces to Michael Heidelberger (November 3, 1944) pdf (98,477 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Richard G. Hodges, United States Army Air Forces (January 18, 1945) pdf (45,576 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 14
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: MS C 245a (second finding aid)
SubSeries: Research notes, 1929-1990 (bulk 1929-1960)
Folder: Sioux Falls Analyses, Data, Lists and Letters B 228, c. 1944-45
2 January 1945
Dear Dr. Heidelberger:
Inclosed are two lists of bloods that we have taken. The shorter list covers the first bloods which we sent to you about two weeks ago. The second list is composed of repeat bloods which we took last week. There will be one more batch of about fifteen (15) bloods, which we plan to take this week. As you can see there is considerable irregularity in the intervals between the first and second bloods. This was unavoidable due to administrative difficulties. I trust that it will not make too much difference in your results.
In regard to the names which you questioned: 13, 190 and 312 is "Lamprinakos"; 888 is "Dennis, W.".
There are several men on who we got first bloods but whom we could not find for a second bleeding since they had left the field. This, of course, represents the margin of error which we took into consideration when we planned this phase of the experiment. As a matter of fact I am somewhat surprised that we obtained as many repeat bloods as we did.
Pneumonia is still unfrequent on the Post but as I pointed out in my last letter we already have enough cases to give our results good statistical significance. The score at present stands: saline group, 10; permanent party, 6; ride group; means that there is only one chance in well over ten thousand that the apparent benefit of the injections is due to the turn of fortune's wheel.
Indications are that we shall be able to continue the study for at least two months more. I would suspect that toward the end of January we shall begin to see another increase in the instance of pneumonia.
With very best regards to you, to Miss Pauli and to my other friends at PH.
Yours most truly,
Richard G. Hodges,
Captain, MC
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