WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 15, 2015 — The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) presented the 2015 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award to Roger I. Glass, MD, PhD, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for international research at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Glass was recognized for his many contributions to improving children’s health worldwide, including novel scientific research for the prevention of gastroenteritis from rotaviruses and noroviruses.
“We are pleased to honor Dr. Roger Glass for his commitment to understanding and controlling rotavirus through the use of vaccines,” said Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, president of Sabin. “Dr. Glass is well-known and respected for his outstanding research achievements in the field, including working to make lifesaving rotavirus vaccines more accessible and affordable for the people who need them most.”
For more than three decades, Dr. Glass has pioneered research documenting the epidemiology and enormous burden of rotavirus throughout the world, and has worked to prevent this disease through the development and use of vaccines. Rotavirus vaccines, including several that he has helped to develop, are now in use in more than 70 national immunization programs. They have already had a major impact in reducing both deaths and diarrheal hospitalizations, thus improving the health of millions of children worldwide.
“I am honored to have been chosen by my peers for this award, which commemorates Dr. Sabin’s extraordinary legacy,” said Dr. Glass. “When I began my career as an epidemiologist, I was struck by the devastating impact diarrhea had among so many children under 5. Today, it remains one of the most common causes of hospitalizations of children. As we work to improve child health, we must prioritize the use of rotavirus vaccines and encourage more countries to include them in their national immunization programs.”
Dr. Glass worked for more than 20 years in partnership with Drs. M.K. Bhan, Harry Greenberg, and Krishna Ella and others to develop a novel rotavirus vaccine for India that could be marketed to the public for US$1.00 per dose, a fraction of the cost of the existing vaccines. This vaccine was just licensed in India and publicly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A similar effort has led to the development of a new vaccine now licensed in Vietnam.
Prior to joining the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Glass worked in various positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh, Oxford University and the Sysin Institute in Moscow. In addition, he spent a year in the Global Program for Immunizations at the World Health Organization in 1995, where he developed a global strategy for surveillance of rotavirus hospitalizations that remains in place to this day. Dr. Glass graduated from Harvard College in 1967, received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967, and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1972. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The annual Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award recognizes a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field. The award commemorates the legacy of Dr. 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.
Dr. Glass was honored Tuesday, April 14, at the 22nd Annual Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award Ceremony, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. He is the second Sabin Gold Medal Award recipient recognized for medical research contributions to rotavirus vaccines, following Albert Z. Kapikian, M.D. (d. 2014) who received the Sabin Gold Medal Award in 2005.
About the Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases.
Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.