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Albert Kapikian, prominent National Institutes of Health virologist, dies at 83

Albert Kapikian (center) led a team that created the first rotavirus vaccine to be licensed in the United States.
Albert Kapikian (center) led a team that created the first rotavirus vaccine to be licensed in the United States.National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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Albert Kapikian, a virologist who helped lead important advances in the understanding of gastrointestinal illnesses that strike populations around the world — particularly children — died Feb. 24 at a rehabilitation center in Potomac, Md. He was 83.

Dr. Kapikian was a prominent researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and for more than four decades served as chief of the epidemiology section in the laboratory of infectious diseases.

He had joined the NIH in 1957 as an officer of the US Public Health Service and dedicated nearly his entire career to the study of viruses that can lead to an upset stomach in mild cases — and to death in severe ones.

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