How Did Jonas Salk Use The Polio Vaccine

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The people living in the 20th century were plagued by a virtually unstoppable disease. Children were infected and sometimes the disease was fatal. The United States had a Poliomyelitis epidemic in the years between 1916 and 1952, which was the peak of the epidemic (Petersen). Polio, as it is more commonly known, caused a great deal of pain, fear, and heartache for these people. It did, however, lead Jonas Salk to create a vaccine that would change the developed world forever. Polio cause Salk to be able to use different methods and large tests to take a bounding leap in vaccine research. Polio is an infectious disease that is contracted by exposure to infected fecal matter as well as anything that was exposed to it. It enters through the …show more content…
Jonas Salk had a theory that the virus had to be killed, not weakened, in order to be effective. This was an idea that was completely foreign to this time, but if the virus was killed there should be no situation where someone is infected by the vaccine. They used monkey tissue in the cultures in order to have the virus grown in the lab for research. Salk then killed the polio virus, in those cultures, with a certain amount of formaldehyde, a colorless and odorless toxic gas derived from methanol and oxidation, (Salk Develops A Polio Vaccine). Salk did not trust his vaccine completely, so early in 1952 he used it on children that already had Polio. Their bodies produced the Polio virus antibodies which led Salk to believe in his vaccine (Salk Develops A Polio Vaccine). That permitted a test with forty-three children that did not have the Polio virus to happen on July 2, 1952 (Petersen). The results were the same as the earlier test. By 1953 Jonas Salk’s findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Salk Develops A Polio Vaccine). The sheer amount of faith that Salk had in his vaccine is astonishing. He put 43 lives at risk for a maybe. The tests and experiments should show just how much a vaccine for Polio was needed. They did test it on monkeys beforehand, but they realized that they had more immunity to Polio, so they could not have been that sure it worked. He did do it though, and he …show more content…
He had only done a few tests, meaning that nothing was proven. On April 26, 1954 they began a nationwide test (Robert). 1.8 million people used the vaccine that year (Sherwood-Pike). On April 12, 1955 the vaccine was proven to be effective (Robert). By 1959, 9 other countries had Salk’s vaccine and they were distributing it to their people (Salk Develops A Polio Vaccine). Salk could have patented the vaccine and made it so that he was the only one that could sell it, giving himself the opportunity to accumulate a large amount of money, but he did not. He did not patent it or put his name on it because he did not feel right restricting something that was so necessary to the lives of so many. That may be the reason that he didn’t receive a Nobel Prize, for his creation. The vaccine was not however, that efficient. Salk’s vaccine required booster shots every so often to keep people immune. His vaccine was still the only solution so the people could not do anything about that, but it is the reason why Salk’s vaccine would be replaced by Albert Sabin’s oral vaccine, in later years. The impact of Salk’s vaccine was still great. In 1952, 40 out of every 100,000 people in the US, had the polio virus. By 1961, only 1 out of every 100,000 people in the US, contracted the virus (Sherwood-Pike). By 1987 there would be no domestically acquired paralytic polio in the United States (Sherwood-Pike). Salk's vaccine saved the lives of

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