Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Science Diplomacy

Source: "EDITORIAL: Peace Through Vaccine Diplomacy," Peter J. Hotez, Science 12 March 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5971, p. 1301 / DOI: 10.1126/science.1189028

I quote:
When the United States and Soviet Union entered a deep Cold War chill after the 1957 Sputnik launch, they also entered into a little-known scientific collaboration that led to one of the most important medical advances of the 20th century. With both countries suffering horrific epidemics of childhood poliomyelitis, Soviet and U.S. scientists, led by Albert Sabin, worked together to develop an oral polio vaccine that was deployed worldwide and ultimately eliminated the disease in most of the world by 2008 (the disease still persists in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria). Similar international cooperative efforts with the Soviet Union led to an improved vaccine that eradicatednaturally occurring smallpox by 1977.
For many years I was involved in the Middle East Regional Cooperation Program and other USAID funded programs of science diplomacy. They work, but they work on the basis of real collaboration of value to all the collaborators. The benefits to different collaborators may be different, but they all must benefit somehow.

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