The Poliomyelitis Vaccine Essay

1410 words - 6 pages

Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, was the most feared childhood disease of the first half of the 20th century. It was an acute viral disease which was caused by the inflammation of the motor neurons of the brainstem and spinal cord. In addition, being affected by the poliovirus caused paralysis of the body and sometimes even death. It was a disease that scientists could not find a cure for it. But at the peak of its devastation in the United States, a vaccine has been introduced to prevent it. As a matter of fact, there has been two versions of the polio vaccine developed during the 20th century. The first vaccine was known as the Salk vaccine, created by scientist Jonas E. Salk, that contained three types of inactivated poliomyelitis viruses and induced immunity against the disease. The second vaccine was known as the Sabin vaccine, created by scientist Albert B.Sabin, that orally administered live viruses for immunization against poliomyelitis. In results “ the Salk and Sabin vaccines quickly reduced the number of polio cases in the countries where they were used extensively” during the 20th century(Wilson np). But the most effective polio vaccine that impacted the world the most till this day was the Sabin vaccine.
The first vaccine was known as the Salk vaccine, created by scientist Jonas E. Salk, that contained three types of inactivated poliomyelitis viruses and induced immunity against the disease. It has impacted the the 20th century by reducing the number of polio cases around the world . It was the beginning of the medical revolution.The birth of the Salk vaccine was in 1947, when Salk began research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Because “The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, aware of his success with the influenza vaccine, wanted him to work with them on a vaccine for polio. [Therefore] He spent the next eight years in an effort to create such a vaccine”( Hecht np). At the end of his research, “Salk and team, with the support of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, began its first tests on humans of their killed-virus polio vaccine”(College of Physicians of Philadelphia np). They were tested on the resident children in institutions for the disabled and retarded. The results “showed that vaccine recipients produced antibodies to the virus type in the vaccine they were given,” which helped prevent the polio disease (College of Physicians of Philadelphia np). And Salk’s vaccine dramatically decreased the number of polio cases. In fact “the Salk vaccine had decreased the number of polio cases from 57,000 in 1952 to 3,190 in 1960,” which has greatly impacted the 20th century. Because there were less people around the world suffering with the polio virus that often paralyzed their bodies. Considering the fact that “For many centuries it was endemic, with the poliovirus always present, and it disabled many individuals every year,” so it was a huge impact that changed the 20th century(Wilson...

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