Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, a Nobel Prize winning scientist and advisor to Viral Genetics, Inc., died April 5 at the age of 85. Blumberg died after apparently suffering a heart attack while attending a conference at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near San Jose, Calif.
"We are very sad to hear of Dr. Blumberg's passing, and our condolences go out to his friends and family," said Viral Genetics' CEO, Haig Keledjian. "His insights and life-saving work have truly been an inspiration to me personally and those with whom he worked. His humble nature also just made it a pleasure to be around Dr. Blumberg and to work with him. He will be sorely missed."
Blumberg joined the Viral Genetics advisory board in 2010. As the leading expert on the HBV virus, Blumberg assisted Viral Genetics and lead Research Dr. M. Karen Newell Rogers in understanding the genetics of chronic HBV infection in the pursuit of a Targeted Peptide-based compound to treat it. "I am deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Blumberg," said Newell Rogers. "He was an amazing human being who can be credited with saving millions of lives as a result of his discoveries and his dedication to humanity."
Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus and developed a diagnostic test for its detection, and was a co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He and a colleague, Irving Millman, also created the first retroviral vaccine for protection from hepatitis B. Over 1 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered since 1982, with chronic infection rates among children plummeting in many countries. As a result, Blumberg has been credited with saving millions of lives.