Timeline of medical testing

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This is a timeline of medical testing.

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Time period Development summary
Ancient history As far back as ancient Greece, live dissection has been used as a form of medical exploration.[1]
Up until the 1960's, about 90 percent of pharmaceutical research in the United States is done on prison inmates, as drug companies need large pools of test subjects. Prison inmate testing ends in the 1970s.[1]
21th century Since 2008, the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported 58,788 experimental drug trials involving humans in 173 countries, a 2,000 percent increase since 1990.[1]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Country/region
1796 English doctor Edward Jenner notices that dairymaids seem to be protected against smallpox because of their contact with cowpox, a milder virus affecting cow udders. Jenner would take samples of matter from inside a dairymaid’s hand lesion and inject it into an unknowing 8-year-old boy, causing him to develop a fever, loose his appetite, and feel discomfort in his armpit in the following days. However, the boy soon recovers. Two months later, Jenner injectes the boy with the smallpox virus, which does not have effect on him. From this experiment, Jenner creates the first smallpox vaccine, which stems from the Latin word for cow.[1] United Kingdom
1803 medical ethics
1900 United States Army scientist Walter Reed gathers volunteers in Cuba willing to be bitten by mosquitoes to see whether the insects carried yellow fever.[2] Cuba
1918 – 1922 Inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California are subjected to numerous medical procedures, including receiving transplanted testicles from recently executed prisoners. During the research, headed by Dr. Leo L. Stanley, many men receive transplanted sex organs from rams, goats, and boars.[1] United states
1932 The Tuskegee syphilis experiment begins. Carried out by the Public Health Service at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the experiment would last 40 years. Nearly 400 hundred of the 600 poor, rural sharecroppers taking part would never be told they had syphilis, nor be treated for it. Instead, they would be given “free healthcare,” meals, and burial money as researchers study how untreated syphilis progress.[1] United States
1940s Scientists test mustard gas by compelling U.S. Navy men to enter gas chambers. One goes temporarily blind. When nitrogen mustard is discovered, doctors inject it into a patient dying of lymphosarcoma and notice that his tumors recede, sparking the beginning of chemotherapy. United States
1946 – 1948 Guatemala syphilis experiment is conducted by the United States, during the administration of U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Guatemalan President Juan José Arévalo with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. A team of U.S. doctors infect 700 Guatemalans with syphilis to test penicillin.[2] Guatemala
1948 Declaration of Geneva Switzerland
1949 Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences
1956 – 1970 Mentally retarded children held at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York are infected with hepatitis so that doctors there could track the spread of the viral infection and how it responds to gamma globulin injections. More than 700 children are infected. The school closes later in 1987 after public outcry about overcrowding and the filthy conditions.[1] United States
1950s A controversial CIA program gives the new drug LSD to unsuspecting American citizens.[2] United States
1960s Experimentation in prisons become widespread in the United States, which becomes the only Western country that runs tests on inmates after World War II.[2] United States
1978 Belmont Report
2000 Declaration of Helsinki

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by FIXME.

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What the timeline is still missing

[1], [2],[3]

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Pain, Suffering, and the History of Human Experimentation". healthline.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Brief History: Secret Medical Testing". content.time.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.