Rubella is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash.
From 1964–1965 there was a rubella epidemic in the United States and subsequently there were 11,000 stillbirths, miscarriages, and abortions, and at least 20,000 congenitally infected infants called “rubella babies.”
Dr. Paul D. Parkman isolated the rubella virus using samples from U.S. military personnel while he worked at Walter Reed. Dr. Harry M. Meyer, Jr., and Dr. Paul D. Parkman experimented with killed virus vaccine and live attenuated virus vaccines. The Parkman-Meyer research team tamed the rubella virus by subjecting it over a two-year period to 77 passages in primary African green monkey kidney cell cultures. Drs. Meyer and Parkman developed the first licensed rubella virus vaccine while working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of Biologics Standards (DBS).
Rubella research at the NIH was in the Division of Biologics Standards (DBS)) Laboratory of Virology and Rickettsiology in Building 29, on the second and third floors, but the entire lab moved to Building 29A, second and third floors in 1967 when the annex opened.
The National Library of Medicine at the NIH created an online exhibition about rubella in 2019. More information is also available there, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/rashestoresearch/index.html.
(All Rubella Photos/Images are from National Library of Medicine)