Last Updated 18 Mar 2021

Dr. Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine

Category Disease, Vaccine
Essay type Research
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Dr. Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine

Dr. Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Polio in the 1950’s has American parents in fear and anxiety due to thousands of children were become infected with a crippling disease Poliomyelitis (polio). Polio is a disease caused by infections of the poliovirus, which can affect nerves and can leads to a partial or full paralysis. It is an inflammation of the spinal cord’s gray matter and can sometimes extend into the brainstem. Now thanks to Dr. Salk most children in the U. S get this Polio Vaccine along with many other vaccination shots as children to prevent this from procuring.

In New York City in 1914 Russian-Jewish immigrant couples were happy to be blessed with a happy healthy boy names Jonas Salk. His parents had little educational background but they were determined to make sure that there kids succeed and do well. Dr. Salk was the first one in his family to go to college his plan was to go into law but then switched to medical science. While at New York University Dr. Salk was invited to spend a year researching influenza’s. Dr. Salk joined his mentor Dr. Thomas Francis, as a research fellow at the University of Michigan.

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There, he worked to develop an influenza vaccine In 1947 was appointed to the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and saw a golden opportunity to develop a vaccine against polio and devoted his work to it for the next 8years. In 1948 Dr. Salk took the techniques that he had learned from the past with working with influenzas and the “principle of vaccinations that if the bod is artificially exposed to a harmless form of the disease virus, the body will produce antibodies that resist or kill dangerous form of the virus if later exposed. Most of the support he got was from National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and later became known as the March of Dimes. The founder of this organization was Former presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt who himself had Polio. In 1952 Dr. Salk and his team developed what they considered to be a safe potential polio vaccine. The vaccine was given to volunteers who had not had polio Dr.

Salk laboratory staff, his kids and wife all volunteered and had no bad reactions to the vaccine. Then they tested in on a group of children at Watson Home for Crippled children located near Pittsburgh. One million kids between 6 and 9 half received the vaccine the other half got a placebo. On April 12, 1955 at the University of Michigan they announced that the vaccine had proven to be safe and effective. A year later they continued to improve it and began to work with a pharmaceutical company to scale it for a clinical trial and commercial manufacture.

Dr. Salk spent most of the last 1950’s refining the vaccine and working on the scientific principles behind the researchers and by 1960 Dr. Salk was ready to move on and create a community of researcher’s to expand and work on other things too including Multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune disease , cancer immunology improving manufacture and standardization of killed polio vaccine and then eventually AIDS. The average number of polio cases in the US was more than 45,000 but by 1962 it was only 910.

Salk never received any money for his discovery. A few year later a vaccine made from live polio virus was developed which could be administered orally Dr. Salk’s originally vaccine had to be injected. Dr. Salk last years were spent searching for a vaccine against AIDS Dr. Salk passed away on June 23, 1995 at the age of 80. A memorial at the Institute with a statement from Salk captures his vision: "Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.

Work cited

  1. "Jonas Salk Biography. " Academy of Achievement. N. p. , 05 Feb. 2005. Web. 24 Jan. 2013. http://www. achievement. org/autodoc/page/sal0bio-1
  2. "Jonas Salk 1914 - 1995. " PBS. PBS, n. d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013. http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bmsalk. html
  3. "History of Jonas Salk. " Salk Institute - About Salk - History of Salk - About Jonas Salk. Salk Institute for Biological Studies, n. d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. http://www. salk. edu/about/jonas_salk. html

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