Appendix 1

‘Disease an unnecessary evil’

The following speech by Sir Gustav Nossal was delivered as the 2009 Burnet Oration and edited to run in The Australian newspaper, as it appears here.

As a young medical science graduate I was actually planning to be a virologist. I’d developed a tremendous interest in viruses as the smallest forms of life, figuring that if I could understand viral replication I could understand the origin of life. That was my naïve 21-year-old point of view.

It turns out that wasn’t so far from the truth because it was using viruses as tools that the early pioneers developed molecular biology. Max Delbruck, Alfred Hershey and Salvador Luria won the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their fundamental ...

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