Infectious-disease expert Adel Mahmoud - Photo courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
CAIRO – 22 June 2018: Egyptian-American Dr. Adel Mahmoud who had developed several life-saving vaccines died last week in New York City at the age of 76 from a brain hemorrhage.
On June 11, his death was announced at the Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan.
A member of Princeton’s faculty, Dr. Mahmoud was a pioneer in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases around the world, especially parasitic infections.
Although his death has not been highlighted in the local news in Egypt, many Egyptian and international scientists took to social media to mourn him. To them, Dr. Mahmoud’s contributions to the field of vaccines were unlikely and influential to many scholars.
On Friday, Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram, and Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar released statements mourning the death of Dr. Mahmoud, the leading researcher of vaccines and infectious diseases who spent his life developing vaccines that saved the lives of hundreds of millions around the world.
Microsoft Founder Bill Gates mourned the loss of Dr. Mahmoud on his Twitter account as one of the greatest vaccine creators in the world.
Earlier this month, the world lost one of the greatest vaccine creators of our time. Dr. Adel Mahmoud saved the lives of countless children. https://t.co/FQFpS0U9Pb
Dr. Mahmoud was born in Cairo and graduated with M.D. from Cairo University in 1963. Five years later, he left Cairo for the United Kingdom, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1971 from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
An experience Mahmoud went through at an early age is believed to have influenced his decision to specialize in medicine. Mahmoud was 10 years old when he tried to obtain penicillin for his father who contracted pneumonia, but he returned home to find him dead.
In 1973, he traveled to the United States as a postdoctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University and rose through the ranks. From 1998 and until 2006, Dr. Mahmoud held the position of President of Merck Vaccines, during which his contribution to the vaccines world was significant as he developed four vaccines.
One of the vaccines he developed was to help protect against gastroenteritis caused by Rotavirus infection, which causes diarrhea to children. He also developed a vaccine for Shingles viral infection, which causes a painful rash, as well as another one for Human papillomavirus, which causes various warts on genitals and other parts and is also associated with the production of cervical cancer.
He further produced a combination vaccine against four diseases: measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
Dr. Mahmoud then joined Princeton University in 2007, where he became a policy analyst at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at the university. In 2011, he was assigned as professor of Princeton’s Department of Molecular Biology.
“At Princeton, he engaged in public policy discussions and worked to imbue the next generation with the love of learning and commitment to public health that guided his life and career,” said Princeton University’s website, mourning his death.
The university further mentioned Mahmoud’s “sharp intellect and dynamic personality.”
By the outbreak of Ebola Virus in West Africa in 2014, Dr. Mahmoud called on a global fund for vaccines.
Some of Dr. Mahmoud’s talks were on how vaccines work; their values and use especially amid a still limited knowledge of its underlying importance.
In May 14, 2009, he was a member of a panel at the Woodrow Wilson School that lectured on how a pandemic can be prevented after the outbreak of Swine Flu at that time.
He was married to Dr. Sally Hodder, who is Associate Vice President of West Virginia Clinical & Translational Science Institute. She is also a specialist in infectious diseases.
Information about Adel Mahmoud’s life and study that was used in this article was retrieved from Princeton University website