A leap of imagination
An inspired leap of imagination led to exposing pooled serum from patients with hepatitis B to a temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit for just one minute. Administration of the serum to susceptible subjects conferred immunity without causing infection. The course was now set for the eventual control of hepatitis B, the more serious of the two diseases. The uniqueness of an experiment that required only a hot plate, needle and syringe to perform, and yet had such enormous health implications was accorded an immediate, enthusiastic reception by the medical community.
Tackling a major world problem and offering a solution is enough to earn an individual a place in medical history. But Krugman gave the world much more than that. Author of the leading text in infectious diseases, popular lecturer and indefatigable traveler, he was well known to clinicians. Generous to his colleagues with those precious, meticulously annotated frozen serum samples and equally valuable advice, he was just as familiar to academicians. Possessed of extensive experience and excellent judgment, Saul Krugman was commonly called upon to participate in health policy decisions here and abroad: consultant to the Bureau of Biologics, member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Virus Diseases, Chairman of the Hepatitis Panel of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Program, Deputy Director of the Commission on Viral Infections for the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board, among others.