Adel Mahmoud (b. August 24, 1941, Cairo, Egypt – d. June 11, 2018, New York City, New York) was an Egyptian-born American doctor and expert in infectious diseases. He was credited with developing the HPV and rotavirus vaccines while serving as president of Merck Vaccines. After retiring from Merck he became a professor at Princeton University.
Mahmoud was born on August 24, 1941 in Cairo, Egypt. His father Abdelfattah Mahmoud, who worked as an agricultural engineer, died of pneumonia when Adel was ten. Adel had been sent to buy penicillin, but when he rushed home his father had already died. He was profoundly influenced by the experience. Mahmoud graduated from the University of Cairo in 1963 with an M.D. His mother, Fathia Osman, had been accepted by the university's medical school but was prevented from attending by her brother, who thought women should not be doctors.
While a university student, Mahmood actively participated in politics and served as a leader in the youth movement of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. As the political climate changed, he moved to the United Kingdom to continue his education, and earned a Ph.D. from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1971. In 1973, he emigrated to the United States and became a postdoctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, and eventually rose to chair the university's Department of Medicine in 1987.
In 1988, Merck & Co. recruited Mahmoud as president of its vaccine division. During his tenure, Mahmoud oversaw the development of several vaccines important to public health, including the rotavirus vaccine and the HPV vaccine. The former prevents potentially fatal diarrhea for young children caused by rotavirus, while the latter (Gardasil) prevents several cancers, most importantly cervix cancer, caused by the human papillomavirus. His role was considered pivotal as he overcame significant doubt about the viability of the vaccines and succeeded in bringing them to market.
After retiring from Merck in 2006, Mahmoud became a policy analyst at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University in 2007, and professor of Princeton's Department of Molecular Biology in 2011.
On June 11, 2018, Mahmoud died from a brain hemorrhage at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City.
Mahmoud met Dr. Sally Hodder, also an infectious-disease expert, at Case Western Reserve in 1976. They married in 1993. He had a stepson, Jay Thornton.
Mahmoud had a sister, Olfat Abdelfattah, and a brother, Mahmoud Abdelfattah. They were both doctors.