BY LI COHEN via https://www.cbsnews.com/
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday awarded a posthumous award to Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman who unknowingly had her body’s cells biopsied while undergoing cancer treatment — and ultimately helped change medical history.
The cells that were taken from Lacks’ tumor, called HeLa cells, were the first human cells to be successfully cloned, and have since been infinitely reproduced. Those cells, WHO said in a statement, “have allowed for incalculable scientific breakthroughs” related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, polio vaccine, drugs for HIV and cancers, COVID-19 research, and even the effects of zero gravity.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus bestowed the award, saying it’s important for the organization to acknowledge her nonconsensual, but critical, contribution to modern medicine. For years, WHO said, Lacks’ race and story were hidden by the global scientific community.
“In honoring Henrietta Lacks, WHO acknowledges the….