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The Nazi Virus

By Robert C. Koehler

I call it the Nazi virus.

Even as we were prosecuting Nazis at Nuremberg for their barbaric behavior, including their notorious medical experiments on death camp inmates, we were, it turns out, conducting our own medical experiments on a vulnerable and unsuspecting population: Between 1946 and 1948, medical researchers with the U.S. Public Health Service deliberately infected almost 700 Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis and gonorrhea in order to study the effects of penicillin on the diseases.

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