Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine Essay example

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Dr. Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher, physician, and virologist who developed the first safe and effective polio vaccine. Before this vaccine was created, polio vaccines usually contained live, weakened forms of the virus, but Salk developed a vaccine that contained an inactivated, dead form of polio, the first of its kind. Until the Salk vaccine was introduced on April 12, 1955, polio was considered the most frightening health problem in the United Sates. Just 3 years before the vaccine was released, almost 58,000 cases were reported, with 3,145 deaths and 21,269 paralyzed. Most of the victims were children, leaving them scarred for the rest of their lives, which, depending on how bad they were affected, wasn’t long. Because…show more content…
He and a Dr. Thomas Francis Jr. eventually perfected a vaccine that was soon used on army bases. But Salk wanted position where he could direct his own lab, and he finally found one at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, where he continued to research flu vaccines. It was at this point that he was approached by the director of research at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a project established by FDR to eradicate polio. The director asked Salk if he wanted to join the project, and he quickly accepted the offer. Poliomyelitis, or polio, was a viral disease that had researchers baffled for years. It would enter the body orally, establish itself in the intestines, and affect the nerves, then travelled to the brain, usually leading to partial or full paralysis. It was the most serious public health problem of postwar America, claiming more victims than any other disease of that time. Yet it did not gain national attention until FDR was diagnosed in 1921. At the age of 39, older than most diagnosed with the disease, Roosevelt was left with severe paralysis, and spent most of his presidency in a wheelchair. When Salk first joined the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) in 1948, he was tasked with researching and confirming how many types of polio there were. To help him, the NFIP paid for additional space, equipment, and researchers in his lab. The NFIP was formed in 1938,

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