Thursday 31 January 1991

Harvard Hospital And Its Volunteers

Keith R. Thompson

Harvard Hospital, more generally known as the Common Cold Research Unit, was a unique institution - the only place in the world where human beings were regularly infected with respiratory viruses as part of a long term programme of research on acute respiratory infections.

Its story provides an example of ultimate success after a long period of apparent failure.

During its existence the Unit attracted 20,000 volunteers, many of whom returned at regular intervals, some even choosing it as their annual holiday destination.

Keith Thompson, known affectionately to staff and volunteers alike as "Tom", was present on the day when in 1946 the first group of volunteers arrived, and remained on the staff until his retirement in 1982, keeping in touch with the Unit until its much-lamented closure in 1989.

His vivid account recalls more than 40 years of an unparalleled episode in the history of medical research in Britain.

Harvard Hospital And Its Volunteers.
Keith R. Thompson.
Softback, 210 mm x 148 mm, 160 pages, 88 black and white photographs and illustrations.
Published by Danny Howell Books.
January 1991.