Happy 63rd Birthday to Dr. Paul Offit!
Dr. Offit is one of the baddest MFs in modern medicine. He is a pediatrician specializing in infectious disease whose research focuses on virology and immunology. He is the inventor of the Rotavirus vaccine (there he is up top, on the right, with his collaborator, Dr. Fred Clark). Rotavirus is the #1 cause of severe infantile diarrhea worldwide which, through dehydration, used to kill more than half a million children a year. Dr. Offit’s vaccine, RotaTeq, costs about $2.50 a dose and has been tremendously successful at preventing infection and reducing the severity of clinical courses of infection, cutting hospitalization rates and fatalities down by nearly two-thirds in developing nations, and almost 90% in the United States.
Dr. Offit is also a prominent vaccine educator and advocate of scientific literacy, and frequently speaks out against snake oil brands of “medicine” and the need for everyone to read and understand extensively researched, peer-reviewed scientific evidence in the age of rampant misinformation and fearmongering.
I’ve had the privilege of being in his lectures and learning from him first hand, and he and his team are nothing short of inspiring. A real testament to the power of knowledge and the case for optimism for the future of medicine. Best wishes today and onward as you continue to carry out the greatest duty of physicians and scientists alike, Dr. Offit.