Robert Austrian, a clinician and pioneer in vaccine research, who helped to develop the first multivalent vaccine against the pneumococcus bacteria in 1977, died from a stroke on March 25th. He was 90 years old.Austrian devoted more than six decades of his life to researching the organism Streptococcus pneumonia. With what his colleagues call gentlemen-like tenacity, he repeatedly asserted that, despite the advent of penicillin, pneumonia remained a significant cause of death among the elderly, and the vaccine he developed and licensed to Merck in 1977 could significantly reduce cases of infection in patients. Over the course of his life he went "from the bench to the bedside to lobbying the medical community" about the importance of the pneumococcal vaccine, Harvey Friedman, chief of infectious diseases at University of Pennsylvania, told The Scientist. "He did the lobbying by just being right."
Friedman and Austrian became friends...

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