August 3, 2010
Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
Robert M. Chanock, M.D., a world-renowned virologist and former chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), died on July 30, 2010. He was 86 years old.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID, said, “NIAID and NIH mourn the loss of Bob Chanock, an outstanding scientist whose innumerable contributions to the understanding of viral diseases helped make the world a healthier place for millions of people. Bob truly was a legend whose work has had a profound influence on so many in the scientific community, including me.”
Dr. Fauci added, “When I first was learning about infectious diseases, in medical school and residency, Bob’s papers and chapters popped up everywhere. The name ‘Chanock’ seemed synonymous with disease discovery. He was an admired mentor, colleague and friend, and he will be greatly missed.”
Dr. Chanock began his research career working under Dr. Albert Sabin at Children's Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati. He joined the NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in 1957, where he and colleagues were the first to identify and characterize human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of serious lower respiratory tract disease in infants and children worldwide. He and his research group subsequently developed and brought to FDA licensure an antibody to prevent RSV disease in high-risk infants and were instrumental to the further development and licensure of the first nasal spray influenza vaccine.
Dr. Chanock and colleagues discovered the four parainfluenza viruses (important causes of childhood respiratory disease), isolated new strains of rhinovirus and coronavirus (causes of the common cold), and isolated and characterized Mycoplasma pneumoniae (a cause of bacterial pneumonia). He and his colleagues helped develop an FDA-approved vaccine against the respiratory pathogen adenovirus, and initiated studies on hepatitis viruses and gastroenteritis viruses that led to the development and licensure of vaccines for hepatitis A and rotavirus. Dr. Chanock also began an ambitious program in his laboratory to develop vaccines against dengue fever. Candidate vaccines from this program are now in clinical trials.
Among his many honors, Dr. Chanock was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences. He received the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Joseph E. Smadel Medal, the IDSA Squibb Award for Excellence in the Field of Infectious Disease, the E. Mead Johnson Award for research in pediatrics, the Robert Koch Medal, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Disease Research, and the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal for exemplary research in the field of vaccinology. He also received the U.S. Public Health Service Meritorious Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medal.
Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
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Last Updated August 03, 2010
Last Reviewed August 02, 2010