Reed and his colleagues conducted a gruesome series of experiments.

Some volunteers slept for weeks in the blood-soaked, vomit-stained faecal-contaminated nightgowns of recently deceased disease victims.

Others allowed themselves to be bitten mercilessly by (uninfected) mosquitoes.

I asked two volunteers, Private John R. Kissinger and clerk John J. Moran, why they were agreeing to such life-threatening experiments. They said "We volunteer solely for the cause of humanity and in the interest of science".

None of these subjects came down with yellow fever.

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© AJC 1995