Dr. Maurice Hilleman

Dr. Maurice Hilleman worked for Merck who developed the SV40 cancer-causing polio vaccine

Health Impact News Editor Comments

While most believers in vaccines like to point to polio as a disease that was eliminated by vaccines, the history of polio and the polio vaccine paints a far different picture than what most believe about polio and the polio vaccine today.

Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D. – Scientifically No Polio Vaccine was Needed


by Nicholas Gonzales, M.D.


I think, in the current debate, it would be a most useful exercise to go back in time, to review historical examples of allegedly or presumably catastrophic infectious disease, specifically two examples, that of polio and Keshan’s disease, for which in both cases a vaccine was thought to be the only solution.

I remember the hysteria generated in the media by polio, the well-funded advertising campaigns by organizations such as the March of Dimes, relying on, of course, emotional arguments to raise money from “regular” moms and dads and Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops all over the country.

My childhood vision of polio was that of a true catastrophe, threatening the entire population of the United States, with our only hope the dedication and hard work of our wonderful research scientists who were extolled in the press on a near daily basis.

As a fledging research immunologist under Dr. Good somewhat fascinated by DuBos’ perspective, I began to investigate the actual epidemiology and ecology of polio.  As I was to learn it turned out that polio “epidemics” as they were called, didn’t really emerge until the late 19th, and early 20th century.  I had been taught in medical school that the epidemic nature of polio showed itself because of growing population density in urban areas associated with poor sanitation.  Though this position seemed logical, since polio transmits through a fecal oral route, the opposite has proven to be the case.

Studies from the late 1940s, before the availability of the Salk vaccine, indicated that in low-income urban areas up to 90% of the population showed antibodies to polio, though most who tested positive had no recollection of having been infected and had not experienced any residual neuro-muscular problems.  For them, the disease seemed no more serious than a brief upper respiratory infection or gastroenteritis.

True, the number of deaths from the disease and cases of paralytic polio did increase significantly in the early 1950s, but these numbers were hardly at the level of full-blown catastrophe.  For example, in 1949, considered an epidemic year, 42,173 cases were identified in the US, with 2, 720 deaths.  Anyone unfortunate enough to be killed, or struck down and left paralyzed would be an individual tragedy, but the numbers just were not there for a major epidemic as has often been portrayed. Even throughout the so-called “epidemic” years of the late 1940s and early 1950s most contracted the virus without any recognition they had been infected with the “deadly” polio organism.

Ironically, the increasing incidence of paralytic cases and deaths, though still relatively small, occurred as intensive public health campaigns to clean up the cities went into full force.  As in most instances, Nature doesn’t work the way the human mind would like it to work.  It turns out all these highly funded and well-intentioned efforts to prevent polio by cleaning out and sterilizing the cities came inevitably with unintended consequences.

In its usual ecological setting, prior to these public health experts at work, polio rarely struck infants younger than six months old, most commonly infecting children between six months and four years of age when the disease usually presented in its “common cold” form.  With improved sanitation, polio tended to hit at later ages, even into adulthood, when it was quite a different, far more aggressive illness.

So, with improved sanitation, fewer children were exposed to the disease, more adults were, and the results in adults were disastrous.  In “unclean” urban areas, early exposure mitigated the severity of the illness, with the added benefit of providing lifetime immunity.  With improved sanitation the disease became far more deadly.

In this context I am reminded of more recent studies demonstrating that children allowed to play in the mud and muck – as I was as a child before germ-phobia became itself an epidemic – and who attend day care centers where they are exposed to all manner of drippy noses and minor infections, tend to have far less asthma, far fewer allergies, and far stronger immunity, than their over-protected colleagues.

I think myself so fortunate that I contracted, and endured, the usual childhood illnesses, including measles, mumps, and chicken pox, even a minor brush with Epstein Barr.  For me, and for all my school friends, these diseases were hardly anything worth remembering particularly, leaving us somewhat disabled for a few days, with much-appreciated time off from school and a certain amount of parental pampering.  No one I knew was left with encephalomyelopathy, nor any other serious neurological deficit as a result of their experiences with any of these viruses.  I do believe these illnesses served me a valuable function, testing my immune system, letting it flex its muscles, teaching it how to work against a mild infection so that someday it might effectively deal with a more serious organism.

I see so many patients in their 20s and 30s, the first of the highly-vaccinated generation, coming to my office unable to function, having been exposed to some viral illness like Epstein-Barr, or Borrelia, or some associated “coinfection,” who five and ten and fifteen years later despite aggressive treatments of all types, both alternative and conventional, are unable to function, finish school, hold a job, at times – and you all know patients like this – unable to leave their room (except initially to see me).  These are young adults with immature immune systems, whose immune cells either underperform, don’t perform at all, or that over-react, with immune regulation gone haywire.  We can get these patients well, fortunately, but they often endured quite a bit a suffering for long periods of time.  And these aren’t the kids with autism, these are young people with promising futures and careers ahead, sidelined and sidetracked by some trivial little virus.

When we think about the child paralyzed by polio or the poor debilitated diphtheria-infected Asian children, we need to step back for a moment, and realize Nature really isn’t the enemy, it’s so often – as Dubos made clear 50 years ago – what we do as individuals, as cultures, and as governments that makes a tolerable, manageable problem into something worse, and this includes force-feeding vaccination.  When these discussions begin, just remember the negative blowback from those “improved” public health measures in urban areas, that made polio a much worse disease than it had been, and left in their wake death and disability.

Speaking scientifically, it appears that no polio vaccine was really needed any more than it was needed for Keshan’s.  Instead, we should have let kids be kids, playing in the mud, letting their immune systems grow and mature as Nature intended, without interference by well-intentioned and completely misguided science.

Read the Full Article, “Some Thoughts on the Vaccination Debate – by Nicholas Gonzalez, MD,”  at GreenMedInfo.com

About the Author

Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D., graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, with a degree in English Literature. He subsequently worked as a journalist, first at Time Inc., before pursuing premedical studies at Columbia. He then received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1983. During a postgraduate immunology fellowship under Dr. Robert A. Good, considered the father of modern immunology, he completed a research study evaluating an aggressive nutritional therapy in the treatment of advanced cancer. Since 1987, Dr. Gonzalez has been in private practice in New York City, treating patients diagnosed with cancer and other serious degenerative illnesses. His nutritional research has received substantial financial support from Procter & Gamble and Nestle. Results from a pilot study published in 1999 described the most positive data in the medical literature for pancreatic cancer.

Propaganda and the Polio Vaccine

by Jeffry John Aufderheide


The polio effort was a benchmark for the public to mentally accept the concept “shots prevent disease” and [that diseases can be] conquered by science.

However, hidden to most Americans was an elaborate Public Relations scheme being carefully and methodically applied to their psyche. Propaganda was used heavily to promote the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and the March of Dimes solution to the polio epidemics: a vaccine.

If you didn’t know, the polio vaccine was created by culturing the poliovirus on monkey testicles and kidneys. The polio vaccine was later found to be contaminated with the dangerous cancer causing SV40 (Simian Virus 40).

This clip is just a small taste of how American citizens were blanketed with vaccine propaganda.

Edward Bernays also worked for the American Tobacco Company. Ever heard of the term “tobacco science?”

The reason for showing you this clip is to demonstrate to you the handy work of Bernays. Doctors are being used as tools to push science funded by the tobacco companies, just like Bernays described they would be.

Read the full article, “The Media Uses These Powerful Tricks to Condition You to Accept Vaccines,” at VacTruth.com.

Dr. Bernard Greenberg’s 1962 Congressional Testimony on Polio

In testimonies given at US Congressional Hearings in 1962, Dr. Bernard Greenberg, head of the Department of Biostatistics of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, testified that not only did polio increase substantially (50 percent from 1957 to 1958 and 80 percent from 1958 to 1959) after the introduction of mass vaccination programs, but statistics were manipulated to give the impression of the effectiveness of the Salk vaccine. Dr. Greenberg gave the following reasons why it appeared that polio decreased after the vaccine was given:

* Redefinition of an epidemic: More cases were required to refer to polio as epidemic after the introduction of the Salk vaccine (from 20 per 100,000 to 35 per 100,000 per year) ·

* Redefinition of the disease: In order to qualify for classification as paralytic poliomyelitis, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days after the onset of the disease. Prior to 1954 the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for only 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and the presence of residual paralysis were not required. After 1954, residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days and again 50 to 70 days after the onset of the disease. “This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease, namely, paralytic poliomyelitis with a longer lasting paralysis,” testified Dr. Greenberg. ·

* Mislabeling: After the introduction of the Salk vaccine, “Cocksackie virus and aseptic meningitis have been distinguished from paralytic poliomyelitis, whereas prior to 1954 large numbers of these cases undoubtedly were mislabeled as paralytic polio,” explained Dr. Greenberg.

Source: Intensive Immunization Programs, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate & Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, 87th Congress, 2nd Session on H.R. 10541, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1962; pp. 96-97

Polio Vaccine Pioneer Doctor Admits Polio Vaccine Caused Cancer

Dr. Maurice Hilleman was the developer of Merck’s vaccine program. He developed over three dozen vaccines, more than any other scientist in history. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received a special lifetime achievement award from the World Health Organization. Hilleman was one of the early vaccine pioneers to warn about the possibility that simian viruses might contaminate vaccines. In the interview below he states: “vaccines have to be considered the bargain basement technology for the 20th century.”

In a censored interview with Dr. Maurice Hilleman that has been published on YouTube, Hilleman admits Merck’s responsibility in unleashing the SV40, a cancer-causing monkey virus, via their polio vaccine. He also reveals that they probably also spread the AIDS virus in the same manner.


Dr. Len Horowitz: Listen now to the voice of the world’s leading vaccine expert Dr Maurice Hilleman, Chief of the Merck Pharmaceutical Company’s vaccine division relay this problem he was having with imported monkeys. He best explains the origin of AIDS, but what you are about to hear was cut from any public disclosures.

Dr Maurice Hilleman: and I think that vaccines have to be considered the bargain basement technology for the 20th century.

Narrator: 50 years ago when Maurice Hilleman was a high school student in Miles City Montana, he hoped he might qualify as a management trainee for the local JC Penney’s store. Instead he went on to pioneer more breakthroughs in vaccine research and development than anyone in the history of American medicine. Among the discoveries he made at Merck, are vaccines for mumps, rubella and measles…

Dr Edward Shorter: Tell me how you found SV40 and the polio vaccine.

Dr Maurice Hilleman: Well, that was at Merck. Yeah, I came to Merck. And uh, I was going to develop vaccines. And we had wild viruses in those days. You remember the wild monkey kidney viruses and so forth? And I finally after 6 months gave up and said that you cannot develop vaccines with these damn monkeys, we’re finished and if I can’t do something I’m going to quit, I’m not going to try it. So I went down to see Bill Mann at the zoo in Washington DC and I told Bill Mann, I said “look, I got a problem and I don’t know what the hell to do.” Bill Mann is a real bright guy. I said that these lousy monkeys are picking it up while being stored in the airports in transit, loading, off loading. He said, very simply, you go ahead and get your monkeys out of West Africa and get the African Green, bring them into Madrid unload them there, there is no other traffic there for animals, fly them into Philadelphia and pick them up. Or fly them into New York and pick them up, right off the airplane. So we brought African Greens in and I didn’t know we were importing the AIDS virus at the time. [emphasis added]

Miscellaneous background voices:…(laughter)… it was you who introduced the AIDS virus into the country. Now we know! (laughter) This is the real story! (laughter) What Merck won’t do to develop a vaccine! (laughter)

Dr Maurice Hilleman: So what he did, he brought in, I mean we brought in those monkeys, I only had those and this was the solution because those monkeys didn’t have the wild viruses but we…

Dr Edward Shorter: Wait, why didn’t the greens have the wild viruses since they came from Africa?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …because they weren’t, they weren’t, they weren’t being infected in these group holding things with all the other 40 different viruses…

Dr Edward Shorter: but they had the ones that they brought from the jungle though…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …yeah, they had those, but those were relatively few what you do you have a gang housing you’re going to have an epidemic transmission of infection in a confined space. So anyway, the greens came in and now we have these and were taking our stocks to clean them up and god now I’m discovering new viruses. So, I said Judas Priest. Well I got an invitation from the Sister Kinney Foundation which was the opposing foundation when it was the live virus…

Dr Edward Shorter: Ah, right…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: Yeah, they had jumped on the Sabin’s band wagon and they had asked me to come down and give a talk at the Sister Kinney Foundation meeting and I saw it was an international meeting and god, what am I going to talk about? I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to talk about the detection of non detectable viruses as a topic.

Dr Albert Sabin …there were those who didn’t want a live virus vaccine… (unintelligible) …concentrated all its efforts on getting more and more people to use the killed virus vaccine, while they were supporting me for research on the live viruses.

Dr Maurice Hilleman: So now I got to have something (laughter), you know that going to attract attention. And gee, I thought that damn SV40, I mean that damn vaculating agent that we have, I’m just going to pick that particular one, that virus has got to be in vaccines, it’s got to be in the Sabin’s vaccines so I quick tested it (laughter) and sure enough it was in there.

Dr Edward Shorter: I’ll be damned

Dr Maurice Hilleman: … And so now…

Dr Edward Shorter: …so you just took stocks of Sabin’s vaccines off the shelf here at Merck…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …yeah, well it had been made, it was made at Merck…

Dr Edward Shorter: You were making it for Sabin at this point?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …Yeah, it was made before I came…

Dr Edward Shorter: yeah, but at this point Sabin is still just doing massive field trials…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …uh huh

Dr Edward Shorter: okay,

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …in Russia and so forth. So I go down and I talked about the detection of non detectable viruses and told Albert, I said listen Albert you know you and I are good friends but I’m going to go down there and you’re going to get upset. I’m going to talk about the virus that it’s in your vaccine. You’re going to get rid of the virus, don’t worry about it, you’re going to get rid of it… but umm, so of course Albert was very upset…

Dr Edward Shorter: What did he say?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …well he said basically, that this is just another obfuscation that’s going to upset vaccines. I said well you know, you’re absolutely right, but we have a new era here we have a new era of the detection and the important thing is to get rid of these viruses.

Dr Edward Shorter: Why would he call it an obfuscation if it was a virus that was contaminating the vaccine?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …well there are 40 different viruses in these vaccines anyway that we were inactivating and uh,

Dr Edward Shorter: but you weren’t inactivating his though…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …no that’s right, but yellow fever vaccine had leukemia virus in it and you know this was in the days of very crude science. So anyway I went down and talked to him and said well, why are you concerned about it? Well I said “I’ll tell you what, I have a feeling in my bones that this virus is different, I don’t know why to tell you this but I …(unintelligible) …I just think this virus will have some long term effects.” And he said what? And I said “cancer”. (laughter) I said Albert, you probably think I’m nuts, but I just have that feeling. Well in the mean time we had taken this virus and put it into monkeys and into hamsters. So we had this meeting and that was sort of the topic of the day and the jokes that were going around was that “gee, we would win the Olympics because the Russians would all be loaded down with tumors.” (laughter) This was where the vaccine was being tested, this was where… so, uhh, and it really destroyed the meeting and it was sort of the topic. Well anyway…

Dr Edward Shorter: Was this the physicians… (unintelligible) …meeting in New York?

Dr Maurice Hilleman …well no, this was at Sister Kinney…

Dr Edward Shorter: Sister Kinney, right…

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …and Del Becco (sp) got up and he foresaw problems with these kinds of agents.

Dr Edward Shorter: Why didn’t this get out into the press?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …well, I guess it did I don’t remember. We had no press release on it. Obviously you don’t go out, this is a scientific affair within the scientific community…

Voice of news reporter: …an historic victory over a dread disease is dramatically unfolded at the U of Michigan. Here scientists usher in a new medical age with the monumental reports that prove that the Salk vaccine against crippling polio to be a sensational success. It’s a day of triumph for 40 year old Dr. Jonas E Salk developer of the vaccine. He arrives here with Basil O’Connor the head of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis that financed the tests. Hundreds of reporters and scientists gathered from all over the nation gathered for the momentous announcement….

Dr Albert Sabin: …it was too much of a show, it was too much Hollywood. There was too much exaggeration and the impression in 1957 that was, no in 1954 that was given was that the problem had been solved , polio had been conquered.

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …but, anyway we knew it was in our seed stock from making vaccines. That virus you see, is one in 10,000 particles is not an activated… (unintelligible) …it was good science at the time because that was what you did. You didn’t worry about these wild viruses.

Dr Edward Shorter: So you discovered, it wasn’t being inactivated in the Salk vaccine?

Dr Maurice Hilleman: …Right. So then the next thing you know is, 3, 4 weeks after that we found that there were tumors popping up on these hamsters.

Dr. Len Horowitz: Despite AIDS and Leukemia suddenly becoming pandemic from “wild viruses” Hilleman said, this was “good science” at that time.

Comment on this article at VaccineImpact.com

See Also:

Did Vaccines Really Eradicate Polio?

The REAL History Behind the Polio Vaccine


Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
by Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk


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