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In post-9/11 world, vaccine research gains new respect

Dr. Robert Edelman has long had to field questions – from his own parents – about why he’s not a “real” doctor, seeing patients, prescribing medicines and curing their ills. His response: “I’m a real doc, except you don’t see what I do every day.” Edelman’s lifework is vaccine research – long one of medicine’s most undervalued pursuits, even though vaccines have helped conquer some of the world’s worst diseases. But now, with bioterror a household word and infectious diseases such as SARS scaring millions around the globe, the discipline is getting more respect – from the scientific community, the federal government and even Edelman’s parents, who keep seeing their son quoted on television. “All you need is one vaccine,” said Edelman, 66, associate director of clinical research at the University of Maryland’s Center for Vaccine Development. “You’ve made an impact on potentially tens of millions of people. Take that to bed with you at night.” With increased funding and new technology, vaccine research is thriving, scientists say. Full Story

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