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View Full Version : Geelong babies used as guinea pigs in scientific testing



Magda Hassan
12-28-2012, 01:37 PM
Geelong babies used as guinea pigs in scientific testingDanny Lannen
August 26th, 2008

http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/images/uploadedfiles/editorial/pictures/2008/08/25/1bethany_(350_x_234).jpgBethany Babies' Home in the 1930s.






AT least nine infants from Geelong's former Bethany Babies' Home were used as guinea pigs in Commonwealth Serum Laboratory medical experiments.
The children, aged between 12 weeks and 17 months, are named on the laboratories' virus research register papers from 1960.
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The Geelong Advertiser has obtained the list through National Archives.
Notes accompanying the file say CSL conducted studies involving bleeds on certain groups of people vaccinated with Salk vaccine against polio.
The notes say many papers in the series had probably been destroyed.
The register has full names and ages of nine Bethany children listed as having received vaccinations on one day.
Their names appear alongside 70 others from homes including Melbourne's Berry St Foundling Home, St Joseph's Hospital, Methodist Babies' Home and Urana children's welfare department home.
Two of the Bethany babies have the same surname and are listed as six weeks apart in age.
An investigation by The Age newspaper in 1997 revealed that hundreds of orphans and state wards had been used for testing by CSL and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute between World War II and the early 1970s.
Testing included injecting with large doses of experimental vaccines for afflictions like whooping cough and herpes.
CSL has acknowledged testing took place when the laboratories were part of the commonwealth health department.
CSL public affairs director Dr Rachel David said lists of tests were handed over to the Government when CSL was privatised in 1991.
Bethany Babies' Home became Bethany Child and Family Support in 1977 and is now Bethany Community Services.
The babies' home supported young single mothers and their infants before the children were adopted out or taken to orphanages.
Representatives from Bethany Community Services have not commented on the revelations of the list of names or Geelong babies' involvement.
Lawyer Angela Sdrinis, of Ryan Carlisle Thomas partners in Melbourne, has worked for three years assisting former orphans and state wards with compensation cases.
She hoped bringing the list to public attention might help some people address issues from the past.
"These people might finally come forward and we can determine if in fact they have suffered harm by being used as guinea pigs," Ms Sdrinis said.
She said there was no way of knowing what babies from Bethany had been administered.


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