#TodayInHistory The polio vaccine developed by Dr Jonas Salk is declared to be safe in 1952, and he would later make it freely available to the public on May 1, 1956, one of the greatest gifts ever to humanity.
This thread is more a look at the history of the polio vaccine and it's development. How it actually works and it's composition is better left to medicos and doctors, who have a better idea. This is more to highlight how it came into being.
The first modern mass immunization programs of polio vaccine occured during the 1930s, when two teams developed it, and reported their results in November 1935. However the bitter rivalry between these two teams, the projects had to be cancelled resulting in a major setback.
John Kolmer of Temple University in Philadelphia, had developed an attenuated poliovirus vaccine, which he had tested in around 10,000 children. However with 5 kids dying and 10 more being paralyzed in the arm, there was a massive backlash against him.
Later Maurice Brodie of the New York Health Dept, developed a formaldehyde killed poliovirus vaccine. Taking lessons from Kolmer's failure, he put up a control group, where it was first tested, including himself. However following the failure of Kolmer, many were wary
Sadly inspite of a rather succesful test, Brodie was fired from his job, and unable to find employment, commited suicide 3 years later. It was unfortunate, as most of Brodie's ideas about vaccination would be adapted by Salk much later.
Consider this Kolmer whose vaccine was quite unsafe, caused deaths, not only kept his job, but also got a 2nd appointment at Temple Univ, Brodie who developed a far safer, effective version of the polio vaccine, was fired, cud not get employment, had to end his own life.
For close to a decade, no research was attempted on polio vaccine, following the unfortunate events. The breakthrough came in 1948 when John Enders cultivated the poliovirus at Children's Hospital, Boston.
Thomas Weller in March 1948 was working on growing varicella virus in lung tissue. He added a sample of mouse brain infected with poliovirus, in some of the test tubes. While the varicella failed, the polio culture was succesful. This would spur the development of polio vaccines.
Other significant discoveries followed, identification of the 3 poliovirus types, the fact that the virus must be present in blood prior to paralysis, and antibodies in form of gamma globulin protects against paralytic polio.
During the early 1950s, the US was hit by a very bad polio outbreak, with around 3000 deaths in that era due to polio. Lederle Labs tried to come up with a polio vaccine , and Polish born virologist Hilary Koprowski , had earlier come up with a vaccine in 1950.
The first effective polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk in 1952 at University of Pittsburgh, his team included Julius Youngner, Byron Bennet. Salk announced the results on CBS radio on March 26, 1953 after the vaccine was administered to a small group.
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