A new story from Revisionist History
The front door altered. Thank our hero. Angela nation and her mysterious sidekick ingrid. James are brilliant. Scientists on the faculty of the medical center at emory university hence the title druid hills. That's the neighborhood in atlanta where emory is. Now you may have noticed that. Emory university is the sponsor of this bonus episode of revisionist history. Emory came to us asked if they could talk about some of the work they've been doing during the pandemic and it's super interesting as you'll hear in a moment but the offer made me happy for selfish reasons. As well. the first time. I went to atlanta. Not thirty years ago was to visit marine. I was the science reporter back then for the washington post. And if you write about american medicine you eventually make the pilgrimage to emery. Emery obsessed with atlanta might disaster of a screenplay was a medical mystery set at emory. I mean what are the odds. How often does live come together. So beautifully and serendipitous -ly under the sacred umbrella other the four zero four area code so here we are revisionist history bonus holiday atlanta addition part. One all right before we go any further. I want to explain why. Emory is such a magical place for people interested in medicine. Healthcare has been part of annmarie since the campus moved from a small town east of atlanta to to atlanta In about nineteen fifteen and at that point The atlanta medical college became part of emory university's school of medicine. This is greg fenders the university's president a decade. Or so after that. One of the the most important benefactors for emory university. Robert w woodruff. He's the coca cola guy right. He is the The legendary Ceo of coca cola. But mr woodruff. As we call them here at emory loved the rural areas in his ranch and south georgia. Malaria was a huge problem. And so georgia as a state was one of the leaders in developing treatments for malaria and early early part of the twentieth century years later after world war two Mr woodruff was very good friends with dwight d eisenhower. Malaria had been a big problem in world war. Two that eisenhower had had to deal with and so the federal government wanted to establish a research center to solve malaria treat. Malaria prevent malaria. And mr woodward through his friendship with president. Eisenhower had it located on emory property which became the center for disease control and prevention That is now not only across the street. It's actually on the emory campus. And so that relationship between Ameri it's school of madison and focus on affection diseases and the cdc has been very very close since world. War two one of the heroes of the aids epidemic. Was jim curran. Head of the city. See in the nineteen eighties. He's now the dean of the public health school at emory. Emory was where one of the most important drugs against. Hiv amtra was discovered when the american medical workers who had fallen ill with a bola in africa. A few years ago came home to be treated. Would they go emory. Because emory was one of the few places set up in this country to treat them tucked away in druid hills is a really remarkable place that played a key role in our understanding of infectious diseases. For seventy five years which is something to be great before especially now. My favorite part of emory is the yorkies national primate research center one of the oldest and biggest non human research centers in the country three thousand non human primates and eight thousand rodents. Eight thousand. Do you know what the plot my screenplay was our hero. Angela was testing an experimental. Drug for huntington's disease on a specially engineered strain of mice created by her boss rogin at the yorkie center. The whole story was about mice and this angela opens adjoining gore is where rajon keeps his mice in metal cages. We mouse after mouse. Dozens of them moving like old men. Rajon huntington's mice. The air is filled with the sound feeble squeaks. Rajon is much better with mice than people if there is anyone out there in land to his interested in a screenplay about two black women from atlanta trying to cure a deadly disease co starring a room full of specially engineered lab mice at the yerkes center. Coming let's make this happen okay. Time listener mailbag ryan m asks. If you could have dinner with any three people from history. Who would they be. And why i think it would be my great grandmother's i only met one of them. Martha nation a very regal jamaican lady. Who when she died in her late nineties. Had just a few strands of gray hair. She was the embodiment of black. Don't crack but i never met the other three. How great would that be. Here's a comment from a listener on itunes dc commute you know. Read the comments. Right dc commute says. I think you should revisit. The obscure virus club season four episode ten. The recent success of vaccine development stands on the shoulders of giants. This is actually a great point and it deserves a long answer obscure virus club. If you haven't listened to it was about a small group of biologist who spent years and years in scientific wilderness studying a group of weird animal viruses. That no one else thought were even remotely meaningful. They were ridiculed ostracized then one day. All those naysayers woke up and realized. Oh the work. These people were doing often. Shadows is going to save the world and if you wanna know how the obscure virus club saved. The world. have to listen to the episode. Because i don't want to give away the ending. The point of the episode was. That's how science works. Everything important and beautiful begins years and years earlier with someone's quixotic and so thanks for your comment. Dc commute. this is absolutely the case with covid vaccine as well. There are countless examples. But since telling emory stories let me pick one from one of their scientists. A guy named rama amara who is so obscure virus glove in his case. His obsession was with something called the m. v. vaccine. This is a vaccine made from the pox virus family. A version of it has been used as a vaccine against smallpox. It's been tweaked so that it can't cause disease anymore because it still resembles something menacing. The immune system goes on high alert. The minute it comes across it and the theory that scientists like amara had was if you tinkered with mba and customized it you could produce an immune response against other deadly infectious diseases. I was working on to work closest vaccines and i used to go to. Tv sanatoria to collect samples from tb patients. that's when i started seeing Hiv infection. That's amara so then. Uh i dial up. Interest in also developing hiv vaccine. That's how i came to emory to work. On that problem he moves to atlanta to emory. And just to put this in perspective. He moves to atlanta in the year. Two thousand so for twenty years. His lab works on the problem. Learning everything they can. About how this particular vaccine emory mba interacts with the body's immune system. You've been working on this vaccine for this model for twenty years as yet nothing had reached the market. We did you get discouraged. Did you wonder whether.