By Bill Briggs
Tens of thousands of mental patients and troops unknowingly became malaria test subjects during the 1940s — part of a secret federal rush to cure a dread disease and win a world war, according to a book published Tuesday that exposes vast, previously unknown breaches of medical ethics.
“The Malaria Project” — operating via the same covert White House machinery that drove the Manhattan Project — tasked doctors with removing malaria from naturally exposed U.S. troops then injecting those strains into people with syphilis and schizophrenia, reports author Karen Masterson, who researched files at the National Archives.
Some details of the project have been previously reported, but the book's new revelations renew debate over the ethics of using unsuspecting people as test subjects — similar to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on low-income black men.
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