The US government today apologised to Guatemala for a study 60 years ago in which American scientists deliberately infected prisoners there with syphilis.
The 1946 experiment was apparently conducted to test the effectiveness of penicillin, which was relatively new then, in treating sexually transmitted diseases.
It was unearthed by a medical historian at Washington’s Wellesley College.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that they were “outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health.”
Strict regulations today would prohibit such medical research.
US officials are beginning two investigations to uncover exactly what happened and make sure today’s rules are adequate.