Monday, April 27, 2009

Veterinarians on the Front Lines of Virus Hunting

clipped from

A life on the front lines against deadly viruses

Frederick Murphy remembers the day in 1967 that live viruses arrived at his veterinary research lab from Marburg, West Germany. Seven people were already dead from an unknown monkey disease that had jumped to humans, causing them to bleed uncontrollably.

He was not afraid. As part of a small government team in Atlanta, it was his job to investigate such outbreaks.

"It was pure adventure," Murphy said, to be out on the front lines identifying deadly microbes - first Marburg, later Ebola - that were entirely new to humans.

Today, Murphy will be in Philadelphia to receive the $100,000 Penn Vet World Leadership Award, the biggest cash prize for veterinary research. His animal studies years ago laid the groundwork for understanding many of the latest emerging human diseases.

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