The Sabin Vaccine Institute has awarded Paul Offit, MD, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the 2018 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal. Sabin recognized Dr. Offit as co-inventor of an oral rotavirus vaccine and for his leadership as one of the United States' most vocal and dedicated advocates for immunization.
"Paul's contributions as a vaccinologist and advocate have improved the health of children in every corner of the world," said Amy Finan, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. "His scientific accomplishments are rivaled only by his impact as a dedicated advocate for immunization. Paul truly exemplifies Albert Sabin's commitment to ensuring every child is protected from preventable disease."
Starting in the 1980s, Dr. Offit performed early research on rotavirus alongside Dr. H Fred Clark and Dr. Stanley Plotkin. This work led to the invention of RotaTeq®, an oral vaccine that prevents rotavirus diarrhea, the most common cause of diarrheal hospitalizations and deaths among children worldwide. Since then, RotaTeq® has saved thousands of children's lives. In 2008, the vaccine became the first oral rotavirus vaccine to be prequalified by the World Health Organization. Within a decade of the vaccine's introduction in the United States, child hospitalizations from rotavirus dropped by 85 percent.
"The Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal is not an award only to me, but to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, specifically to Drs. Stan Plotkin and Fred Clark, mentors and friends who taught me how to make a vaccine and how to use my expertise to advocate for children," said Dr. Offit. He added, "Advocacy becomes all the more important as we live in a world where scientific illiteracy is being replaced by scientific denialism. Now, more than ever before, it's time for scientists to stand up and explain what they do and why they do it to the public and the media. Science is a privilege, not a right. And it's the taxpayer, the voter, who grants us that privilege."
Dr. Offit is Director of the Vaccine Education Center, an attending physician and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at CHOP, and the Maurice R. Hilleman professor of vaccinology and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received numerous international and national awards for his work, including the Maxwell Finland Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, as well as Election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety.
Awarded annually since 1994, the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal recognizes a researcher who has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field. The award commemorates the legacy of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, who developed the oral live virus polio vaccine that is widely heralded with making a huge contribution to the near eradication of polio worldwide.
The 2018 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal ceremony was made possible in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 546-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.