The “Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study” was a controlled experiment on 400 prisoners. They were infected with malaria in order to study the effects of new and experimental drugs to combat the disease.
Nazi doctors later on trial at Nuremberg cite this American study to defend their own actions during the Holocaust.
The study was conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago in conjunction with the United States Army and the State Department. Doctors from the University of Chicago bred mosquitoes infected with a plasmodium vivax malaria strain that was isolated from a military patient. In the study, each patient received bites from 10 infected mosquitoes. Malaria research continued at Stateville Penitentiary for 29 years.
In 1946, during the Nuremberg Medical Trial, defense attorneys argued that, ethically, there was no difference between research conducted in American prisons and the experiments that took place in Nazi concentration camps.