Timeline of key events related to hepatitis B

1600-01-01T00:00:00+000040,000 cases recorded1861-01-01T00:00:00+0000R. Virchow, 'Ueber das Vockommn und den Nacweis des hepatogenen. inspersondere des katarrhalischen Icterus', Vichows Arch Pathol Anat, (1865), 32, 117-25.1865-01-01T00:00:00+0000The outbreak was probably caused by blood contamination of the lymph used in the smallpox vaccination. Of 1129 vaccinated shipworkers, 191 developed jaundice. A. Lurman, 'Eine icterusepidemic', Berl Klin Wehnschr, 22 (1885), 20-23; J. Jehn, 'Eine Ikterusepidemie in wahrscheinlichem. Zusam-menhang mit vorausgegangener Revaccination', Dtsch Med.Wochenschr, 11 (1885), 339.1885-01-01T00:00:00+0000S. McDonald, 'Acute yellow atrophy', Edinburgh Medical Journal, 15 (1908), 208.1908-01-01T00:00:00+0000Hilleman, a microbiologist, is credited with having saved more children's lives than any other medical scientist in the 20th century. He pioneered eight out of the fourteen vaccines routinely recommended for children today. This includes the vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. Hilleman developed these vaccines as head of Merck & Co's virus and cell biology research department. 1919-08-30T00:00:00+0000The authors considered a range of factors causing the outbreak, including an infectious agent. J Stokes, R Ruedemann, W Lemon, 'Epidemic infectious jaundice and its relation to the therapy of syphilis', Arch Intern Med, 26 (1920), 521-33.1920-01-01T00:00:00+0000Blumberg was a physician and geneticist who won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for his discovery of a surface antigen for the hepatitis B virus. He found the antigen while conducting work on blood samples from different populations from around the world to understand genetic variations in susceptibility to disease. The antigen was first spotted testing a blood sample from a haemophiliac patient in New York against blood taken from a visiting Korean physician. Blumberg's discovery paved the way to the development of the first screen test for hepatitis B to prevent its spread in blood donations. His research also helped in the creation of the first vaccine against the disease, which to this day is the gold standard in the management of the disease. 1925-07-28T00:00:00+0000They noted the use of lancets being used repeatedly to obtain blood samples from patients. A Flaum, H Malmros, E Persson, 'Eine nosocomiale Ikterusepidemie', Acta Med Scand, 16 (Suppl.) (1926), 544–53.1926-01-01T00:00:00+0000June Almeida was a major pioneer of electron microscopy which helped transform knowledge about virology. She is best known for taking the first electron micrograph of the rubella virus and a human coronavirus. Her work also helped uncover the structure of the hepatitis B virus which paved the way to developing a vaccine against hepatitis B. She also published some of the first high quality images of HIV. 1930-10-05T00:00:00+0000GM Findlay, JL Dunlop, HC Brown, 'Observations on epidemic catarrhal jaundice', Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 25 (1931), 7–28.1931-05-21T00:00:00+0000Temin was a geneticist and virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on the interactions between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In 1969 he demonstrated that certain tumour viruses carry the ability to reverse the flow of information from RNA back to DNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The same enzyme is now is known to be linked to the widespread spread of viral diseases like AIDs and hepatitis B. 1934-12-10T00:00:00+00001937-01-01T00:00:00+0000E Polack, 'Chronic hepatitis in young persons, with or without intermittent jaundice', Acta Med Scand, 93 (1937), 14-22; A Kornberg, 'Latent liver disease in persons recovered from catarrhal jaundice and in otherwise normal medical students as revealed by the bilirubin excretion test', Journal Clinical Investigation, 21 (1941), 299-308.1937-12-31T00:00:00+0000The plasma was a standard means of preventing measles and mumps in the 1930s. In one case seven young children resident in a long-term institution became jaundiced 78-82 days after being inoculated with the plasma. S.A. Propert, 'Hepatitis after prophylactic serum', BMJ, 2 (1938), 677-678. Another epidemic involved 41 cases of jaundice with 8 deaths following the administration of pooled measles convelescent serum from 26 donors. AS MacNalty, Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health for the Year 1937 (London, 1938); P Beeson, G Chesney, A McFarlan, 'Hepatitis following injection of mumps convalescent plasma', Lancet, 1 (1944), 814-21.1938-01-01T00:00:00+0000Vaccination against yellow fever was introduced in the 1930s. The first British vaccine produced using a mixture of live, mouse-brain passaged virus with human immune serum together with normal serum. Between 1933 and 1938 89 cases of jaundice were observed among 3100 vaccines, about 3% of recipients. Most cases developed the jaundice 2-3 months after vaccination. GM Findlay, F.O. MacCallum, ' Hepatitis and jaundice associated with immunization against certain virus diseases: (section of comparative medicine)', Proc R Soc Med, 31/7 (1938), 799-806.1938-01-01T00:00:00+0000The biopsies were done on 38 patients. K Roholm, P Iversen, 'Changes in the liver in acute epidemic hepatitis (catarrhal jaundice) based on 38 aspiration biopsies', Acta Pathol Microbiol Scand, 16 (1939), 427-42.1939-01-01T00:00:00+000028,585 US soldiers were affected, 62 died. WA Sawyer, et al. 'Jaundice in Army personnel in the western region of the United States and its relation to vaccination against yellow fever', American Journal of Epidemiology, 39/3 (1944), 337-430; RH Turner, et al., 'Some clinical studies of acute hepatitis occurring in soldiers after inoculation with yellow fever vaccine', Annals Internal Medicine, 20 (1944), 193-218. Alarmed by the report the British government decided not to vaccine the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, against yellow fever. 1942-01-01T00:00:00+0000Voegt conducted the experiment at the University Hospital in Vienna. The volunteers were given blood, urine and duodenal juice collected from patients with infective hepatitis. This was done either by injection or via the oral route. Voegt was a member of the clinic of Hans Eppinger, an Austrian physician who later became infamous for his experiments on prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp. Eppinger never accepted the validity of Voegt's findings and his work was ignored in English-speaking countries. Voegt published his experimernt in 'Zur Aetiologie der Hepatitis epidemica', Munch Med.Wschr, 89 (1942), 76–9.1942-01-01T00:00:00+0000Nine out of 56 patients treated with large volumes of pooled serum for a variety of conditions developed jaundice 49-107 days after treatment. It was observed that these cases resembled the cases that occurred after yellow fever vaccination. HV Morgan, D Williamson, 'Jaundice following administration of human blood products', BMJ, 1/4302 (1943), 750-531943-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
1600 - 1900Outbreaks of jaundice common in urban populations and armies during wars  Infectious diseases
1861 - 1865Outbreaks of of jaundice noted in Union troops during American Civil War   
1865Rudolf Virchow, renowned pathologist, argued jaundice caused by deranged cellular functionVirchow  
1885Jaundice outbreaks recorded among German shipworkers and inmates in an asylum several months after receiving smallpox vaccination containing human lymphLurman  
1908Stuart McDonald, a pathologist, argued fulminant hepatitis could be an infectious disease transmitted by a virusMcDonaldUniversity of Durham 
30 Aug 1919Maurice Hilleman was born in Miles City, Montana, USAHillemanMerck & CoVaccines, Infectious diseases
1920Sudden increase in jaundice observed in patients treated for syphilis StokesMayo Clinic 
28 Jul 1925Baruch S. Blumberg born in New York NY, USABlumbergFox Chase Cancer Center, University of PennsylvaniaVaccines
1926Flaum and co-workers link jaundice epidemic in patients attending a Swedish diabetes clinic to virus transmitted between humansFlaum, Malmros, Persson  
5 Oct 1930June Almeida was born in Glasgow, ScotlandAlmeidaHammersmith Postgraduate Medical SchoolVirology, Vaccines, Infectious diseases
May 1931Human bodily fluid suggested to contain filterable agent causing hepatitisFindlay, Dunlop, BrownWellcome Bureau of Scientific Research 
10 Dec 1934Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USATeminUniversity of WisconsinGenetics, Virology, Oncology
1937 - 1940Growing recognition of chronic hepatitis in patients with 'catarrhal jaundice'   
1937 - 1941Persistent hepatic inflammation detected in patients who otherwise appeared to recover from jaundicePolack, Kornberg  
1938 - 1947Outbreaks of jaundice linked to prophylactic injections of plasma drawn from convalescent measles and mumps patientsPropert, Beeson, Chesney, McFarlan  
1938Jaundice and hepatitis found in 3% of 3,100 recipients of yellow fever vaccineFindlay, MacCallum Vaccines
1939 - 1942Danish clinicians undertaking liver biopsies detected hepatic inflammation in patients with jaundice, undermining 'catarrhal' origin ideaRoholm, Iversen  
1942Yellow fever vaccine containing human serum caused massive jaundice outbreak in US armySawyer, Turner Vaccines, Infectious diseases
1942Hans Voegt reported first deliberate transmission of viral hepatitis to human volunteersVoegtUniversity Hospital Vienna 
1943Blood transfusion and treatment with normal immune globulin linked to jaundiceMorgan, WilliamsonSt Bartholomew's Hospital 

1600 - 1900

Outbreaks of jaundice common in urban populations and armies during wars

1861 - 1865

Outbreaks of of jaundice noted in Union troops during American Civil War

1865

Rudolf Virchow, renowned pathologist, argued jaundice caused by deranged cellular function

1885

Jaundice outbreaks recorded among German shipworkers and inmates in an asylum several months after receiving smallpox vaccination containing human lymph

1908

Stuart McDonald, a pathologist, argued fulminant hepatitis could be an infectious disease transmitted by a virus

30 Aug 1919

Maurice Hilleman was born in Miles City, Montana, USA

1920

Sudden increase in jaundice observed in patients treated for syphilis

28 Jul 1925

Baruch S. Blumberg born in New York NY, USA

1926

Flaum and co-workers link jaundice epidemic in patients attending a Swedish diabetes clinic to virus transmitted between humans

5 Oct 1930

June Almeida was born in Glasgow, Scotland

May 1931

Human bodily fluid suggested to contain filterable agent causing hepatitis

10 Dec 1934

Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA

1937 - 1940

Growing recognition of chronic hepatitis in patients with 'catarrhal jaundice'

1937 - 1941

Persistent hepatic inflammation detected in patients who otherwise appeared to recover from jaundice

1938 - 1947

Outbreaks of jaundice linked to prophylactic injections of plasma drawn from convalescent measles and mumps patients

1938

Jaundice and hepatitis found in 3% of 3,100 recipients of yellow fever vaccine

1939 - 1942

Danish clinicians undertaking liver biopsies detected hepatic inflammation in patients with jaundice, undermining 'catarrhal' origin idea

1942

Yellow fever vaccine containing human serum caused massive jaundice outbreak in US army

1942

Hans Voegt reported first deliberate transmission of viral hepatitis to human volunteers

1943

Blood transfusion and treatment with normal immune globulin linked to jaundice

Respond to or comment on this page on our feeds on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.