Dr. R. Palmer Beasley's passing is a tremendous loss for the hepatitis community. He was a member of CEVHAP and Palmer and I were friends for nearly 40 years. I knew him very well, because he worked in Taiwan in 1970-80's and we both had a common interest in hepatitis research. He contributed a lot to our understanding of the epidemiology of hepatitis B, the etiologic role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the immunoprophylaxis of HBV infection. His landmark discovery of "vertical" transmission of HBV from carrier mothers to their infants in early 1970's paved the road of hepatitis B vaccination. Indeed, he and colleagues went on to show the efficacy of hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine in this setting, which laid the foundation of hepatitis B immunization in newborns. It is now a regular practice worldwide and this will avert millions of deaths due to end-stage liver disease and HCC.
Although the control of hepatitis B is on the right track, there are still many hurdles in its implementation. While CEVHAP is working toward the eradication of viral hepatitis in our region, we will all remember the giant who has contributed so much to what we are doing now.
D S Chen
An article in The New York Times:
R. Palmer Beasley, Expert on Hepatitis B, Dies at 76