Dr Richard Edwin Shope (R.I.P.) who passed away today in 1966, was a true American Hero

Medical doctors of all stripes and physicians of all armed services (despite their so-called “Hippocratic Oath”) tried many times in many places, to conduct gruesome experiments on healthy Americans with the mucus, serum, and blood of those who were sick, or corpses of those who died, of the 1918 pandemic.

In the military, they offered blanket paroles to soldiers and sailors serving time in the stockades of America in WWI, to be test subjects.

Something that US law disallows today.


Scientists had noted, the so-called Spanish flu’s mortality rates in Fall, 1918 peaked in Boston and Bombay (India) in the same week. But New York City, just a few hours from Boston, peaked three weeks later.

As one scientist, Dr. Richard Edwin Shope, noted years later:

“In many respects, the epidemiologist had an easier time getting the pandemic disease transferred from Boston to Chicago…than getting it the remaining 38 miles from Chicago to Joliet.

If pandemic influenza spread from sick-to-well by contact, then it should diffuse with reasonable rapidity over short distances. Yet it does not seem to do so. Could it be that somehow the organism that caused the epidemic was already present, but unrecognized, in various parts of the country?”


Dr. Shope was an Iowa farm boy born in Des Moines, who went to pre-medical school at the Iowa State when his first pick, Forestry, had closed down. But he did not become a physician to practice medicine, rather to do scientific research at Princeton in The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

Richard Edwin Shope (December 25, 1901 – October 2, 1966) was an American virologist who, together with his mentor Paul A. Lewis at the Rockefeller Institute, identified influenza virus A in pigs in 1931.[1] Using Shope’s technique, Smith, Andrewes, and Laidlaw of England’s Medical Research Council cultured it from a human in 1933.[1] They and Shope in 1935 and 1936, respectively, identified it as the virus circulating in the 1918 pandemic.[1] In 1933, Shope identified the Shope papillomavirus, which infects rabbits. His discovery later assist other researcher to link the papilloma virus to warts and cervical cancer. He received the 1957 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award.[2]

  • From Wikipedia

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