Frank Fenner, the Australian microbiologist who headed the World Health Organization team to eradicate smallpox, died, reports the Los Angeles Times. He was 95. Fenner, who studied tropical medicine, became involved with the smallpox eradication effort in 1969, became the project's leader in 1977, and in 1980 announced its success. The LA Times adds that Nobel laureate Peter Doherty "has often said Fenner should have received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work eradicating smallpox 'because they sometimes give the peace prize for enormous practical achievements.'" Fenner also studied myxomatosis at the Australian National University and showed that the virus could kill some of the country's 600 million rabbits but warned that the other rabbits would become resistant to the virus. "His contribution ... to the nation, and indeed the world, is difficult to quantify because it is so wide-ranging," says ANU's Ian Chubb in a statement.
Frank Fenner Dies
Nov 30, 2010