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Brian Oliver Lyndhurst Duke

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 09 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1023
  1. Hugh Taylor

Brian Duke's research did more than that of any other single person to triumph over river blindness. During 1953-75 Brian worked in the Cameroons for the Colonial Medical Service and then the Medical Research Council, defining the dynamics of river blindness, establishing the methodology for clinical trials, and discovering a new worm, Onchocerca dukeii. In 1975 he became chief of the Filariasis Infections Unit at the World Health Organization in Geneva, helping to develop ivermectin. After mandatory retirement from the WHO in 1985 Brian worked at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda, Maryland, though he was medical director of the River Blindness Foundation until 1996 and published his last paper in January 2006. He leaves a wife, Diane, five children, and five grandchildren.


  • Distinguished researcher on river blindness (b 1926; q Cambridge/Guy's 1951; CBE, ScD, FRCP), d 3 June 2006.

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