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WHO honors Henrietta Lacks from Virginia, where cells helped science.State and region news

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Associated Press

Geneva — On Wednesday, the head of the World Health Organization praised the late Henrietta Lacks, an American-African from Virginia. His cancer cells were harvested without her knowledge in the 1950s and provided the basis for vast scientific advances, including research on the coronavirus. ..

WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adanom Gebreyes approves “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a Rebecca Skloot book on medical discrimination faced by African Americans, a life-saving innovation made possible by Lux. It’s been over 10 years since the publication of. ‘The legal battle of cells and her family over their unauthorized use.

“What happened to Henrietta was wrong,” Tedros said at a special ceremony at WHO Geneva headquarters, while some of his other descendants were watching before giving the Henrietta Lacks Secretary’s Award to his 87-year-old son, Lawrence Lux. ,Said.

Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920 in Roanoke. After her mother died at the age of four, the family moved to Clover in Halifax County, Southside Virginia, to work on a tobacco farm. She and her husband set out for Maryland in the early 1940s.

Luck died of cervical cancer on October 4, 1951 at the age of 31. Tissue collected from her at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore provided the first human cells to be successfully cloned. Since then, infinitely replicated HeLa cells have been the basis of modern medicine, including the development of polio vaccines, genetic maps, and even the COVID-19 vaccine.

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