Philadelphia Nobel Prize winner dies

    The Philadelphia researcher, and Nobel Prize winner, who discovered the hepatitis B virus died this week.

    Baruch Blumberg isolated the hepatitis B virus and shared the 1976 Nobel Prize for that discovery.

    Jonathan Chernoff, chief scientific officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center, was a longtime colleague of Blumberg’s.

    Chernoff said Blumberg “closed the loop” on the virus by taking the next step and developing a vaccine to prevent people from becoming ill with it.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “Because of that, he prevented a lot of cancers. Infection with hepatitis B can not only lead to hepatitis, but in some of the cases hepatitis can progress into liver cancer,” Chernoff said.

    Chernoff and other close associates called Blumberg “Barry.”

    Chernoff said Thursday Blumberg became one of the most famous virologists in the world because of his discoveries, but he wasn’t originally trained in infectious disease.

    Blumberg’s scientific curiosity–and willingness to tackle any subject–made him a great companion for afternoon tea, which the two shared many times.

    Blumberg was 85 when he died.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal