In 1957, when flu swept through Hong Kong, Mr [Maurice] Hilleman identified the virus as a new form to which people had no natural immunity and passed on his findings to vaccine-makers. When the virus reached the United States a few months later 40m doses of vaccine were ready to limit its damage.
Here is more from The Economist, circa 2005, via Brian LaRocca. How many of you have heard of Maurice Hilleman? He has other accomplishments, and according to Wikipedia “He is credited with saving more lives than any other medical scientist of the 20th century.” I say he is underrated!