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How Long Was The Polio Vaccine Tested

History Of Polio Vaccination

Jona Salk’s polio vaccine developed 65 years ago

Correspondence to: Anda Baicus, MD, PhD, Lecturer in Microbiology, Head of the National Polio Laboratory, National Institute of Research and Development for Microbiology and Immunology Cantacuzino, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila, 050096 Bucharest, Romania.

Telephone: +40-740-213102 Fax: +40-215-287305

Testing And Licensing Of Sabin Polio Vaccine

For four years, researcher Albert Sabin partnered with health officials from the Soviet Union to produce a more affordable alternative. More than 10 million children received his oral polio vaccine during this period.

Studies showed that Sabins version triggered a faster immune response and was easier to administer than Salks vaccine. Both Salks injectable vaccine and Sabins oral vaccine stopped the spread of all strains of the poliovirus through the bloodstream.

Ultimately, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended licensing of Sabins OPV, which combined vaccinations against all three types of polio in 1963.

In the decades that followed, widespread use of the polio vaccine finally began to stem the tide of this contagious disease. The World Health Organization would later launch a global poliovirus eradication program in the 80s.

Dr Jonas Salk Announces Polio Vaccine

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952an epidemic year for poliothere were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as infant paralysis because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

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Salk, born in New York City in 1914, first conducted research on viruses in the 1930s when he was a medical student at New York University, and during World War II helped develop flu vaccines. In 1947, he became head of a research laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh and in 1948 was awarded a grant to study the polio virus and develop a possible vaccine. By 1950, he had an early version of his polio vaccine.

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Experiments On Monkeys Led To Further Errors That Had Catastrophic Consequences

Thirty years after the human studies, vivisectors discovered that they could protect healthy rhesus macaques from polio by injecting them in the spine with antibodies derived from infected monkeys. This method involved killing the animals, extracting tissue from their virus-infected spinal cords, and treating it with formaldehydeor in the case of the live vaccine, weakening the virus with sodium ricinoleate.

Tragically, when experimenters inoculated 20,000 children with those vaccines, 12 of them experienced severe paralysis and six of them died. The use of both the vaccines was stopped.

In 1941more than three decades after researchers discovered how the virus entered the human bodyDr. Albert Sabin published autopsy findings from humans demonstrating that the poliovirus is not detectable in human nasal mucosa. Strikingly, he also detected the virus in the human alimentary tract, as had been observed in clinical-epidemiological studies at the beginning of the 20th century.

Sabin later said, The work on prevention was long delayed by misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys.

The tragic consequences didnt end there. It had long been known that polio vaccines can be made from human cell cultures, but both Sabins and Jonas Salks vaccines were produced using cell cultures from kidneys of rhesus macaques.

Early Polio Vaccine Projects

The great polio vaccine mess and the lessons it holds ...

Unfortunately, initial trials were poorly executed and caused great harm to those involved. Teams of researchers in New York and Philadelphia both administered vaccines containing active poliovirus to tens of thousands of living subjects, including children and chimpanzees. Many subjects became severely ill or paralyzed, experienced allergic reactions, and even died of polio.

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The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act

During the mid-1970s, there was an increased focus on personal health and more people became concerned about vaccine safety. Several lawsuits were filed against vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers by people who believed they had been injured by the diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine. Damages were awarded despite the lack of scientific evidence to support vaccine injury claims. As a result of these decisions, liability and prices soared, and several vaccine manufacturers halted production. A vaccine shortage resulted and public health officials became concerned about the return of epidemic disease. To reduce liability and respond to public health concerns, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. This act was influential in many ways. .

Significant progress has been made over the past few years to monitor side effects and conduct research relevant to vaccine safety.

Salk Poliomyelitis Vaccine Trial

Despite widespread concern over testing the vaccine on live human subjects, the studies continued. In the early 1950s, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis funded a study by Dr. Jonas Salk and his team of researchers. They planned to try three different strains of injectable, inactive-virus vaccines on humans.

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Polio Vaccine Trial Announcement

“Safe, effective, and potent.”

With these words on April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., director of the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, announced to the world that the Salk polio vaccine was up to 90% effective in preventing paralytic polio.

Dr. Francis made the announcement to a crowd of scientists and reporters at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Auditorium, concluding his two-year national field trials of the poliomyelitis vaccine developed by his former student, Jonas Salk. Francis was chair of the School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology where Salk did postgraduate training.

Over 1,800,000 children participated in the field trials, which were unprecedented in magnitude.

Personal Life And Death

Polio vaccine approved 65 years ago, still one of the greatest medical achievements

The day after his graduation from medical school in 1939, Salk married Donna Lindsay, a master’s candidate at the New York College of Social Work. David Oshinsky writes that Donna’s father, Elmer Lindsay, “a wealthy Manhattan dentist, viewed Salk as a social inferior, several cuts below Donna’s former suitors.” Eventually, her father agreed to the marriage on two conditions: first, Salk must wait until he could be listed as an official M.D. on the wedding invitations, and second, he must improve his “rather pedestrian status” by giving himself a middle name.”:99

They had three children: Peter , Darrell, and Jonathan Salk. In 1968, they divorced and, in 1970, Salk married French painter Françoise Gilot.

Jonas Salk died from heart failure at the age of 80 on June 23, 1995, in La Jolla, and was buried at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego.

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Development Of Pv Vaccines

In 1935, Brodie tried an inactivated vaccine with 10% formalin suspension of PV taken from infected monkey spinal cord he tried it first on 20 monkeys, then on 3000 Californian children. The results were poor and additional human studies were never performed. In the same year, Kollmer tried a live attenuated virus consisting of a 4% suspension of PV from infected monkey spinal cord, treated with sodium ricinoleate. He used it on monkeys and then on several thousand children. The acute paralysis occurred in about 1/1000 vaccines shortly after administration and some cases were fatal.

The discovery that the various antigenic strains of PVs could be grouped into three distinct viral types and the propagation of the PV in vitro led to the development of the vaccines against poliomyelitis: the formalin-inactivated vaccine by Jonas Salk and the live-attenuated vaccines by Albert Sabin .

Preparations Authorized For Use In Canada

Poliomyelitis-containing vaccines

  • ADACEL®-POLIO , sanofi pasteur Ltd.
  • BOOSTRIX®-POLIO , GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
  • IMOVAX®Polio , sanofi pasteur SA , Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. .
  • INFANRIX®-IPV , GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
  • INFANRIX®-IPV/Hib , GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
  • INFANRIX hexa , inactivated poliomyelitis and conjugated Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine), GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
  • PEDIACEL® , Sanofi Pasteur Ltd.
  • QUADRACEL® , Sanofi Pasteur Ltd.
  • Td POLIO ADSORBED , Sanofi Pasteur Ltd.

Poliomyelitis vaccine contains three types of wild poliovirus and is available as trivalent inactivated polio vaccine or in a combination vaccine. Live attenuated oral polio vaccine is no longer recommended or available in Canada because most cases of paralytic polio from 1980 to 1995 were associated with OPV vaccine. OPV vaccine continues to be widely used internationally.

For complete prescribing information, consult the product leaflet or information contained within Health Canada’s authorized product monographs available through the Drug Product Database. Refer to Table 1 in Contents of Immunizing Agents Available for Use in Canada in Part 1 for a list of all vaccines available for use in Canada and their contents.

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Development Of The Salk Vaccine

Researchers began working on a polio vaccine in the 1930s, but early attempts were unsuccessful. An effective vaccine didn’t come around until 1953, when Jonas Salk introduced his inactivated polio vaccine .

Salk had studied viruses as a student at New York University in the 1930s and helped develop flu vaccines during World War II, according to In 1948, he was awarded a research grant from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later named . Roosevelt had contracted polio in 1921 at age 39, and the disease left him with both legs permanently paralyzed. In 1938, five years into his presidency, Roosevelt helped to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to raise money and deliver aid to areas experiencing polio epidemics.

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Salk’s vaccine was unusual because instead of using a weakened version of the live virus, such as what is used for mumps and measles, Salk’s vaccine used a “killed,” or inactivated, version of the virus. When the “dead” poliovirus is injected into the bloodstream, it can’t cause an infection because the virus is inactive but the immune system can’t distinguish an activated virus from an inactivated one, and it creates antibodies to fight the virus. Those antibodies persist and protect the person from future poliovirus infection.

Desperate To Advance A Cure For A Deadly Virus Us Schools Played Critical Role In 1950s Polio Vaccine Trials

Indian State on Alert as Polio Strain Found in Sewage Water

By Harry McCrackenApril 6, 2021

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of Pfizer and Modernas COVID-19 vaccines last December a year after the coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China it was a dramatic piece of good news after one of the most disruptive years the country has ever experienced.

Now consider the thrill people felt in April 1955 when Dr. Jonas Salks new polio vaccine was officially declared to be safe, effective, and potent. That came more than 60 years after the first known polio outbreak in the U.S., which took place in rural Rutland County, Vermont in 1894. It killed 18 mostly children below the age of 12 and left 123 permanently paralyzed.

From there, polio became an enduring, mysterious scourge. In 1916, it hit New York City, killing 2,343 out of a total of 6,000 nationwide that year. In the 1940s and early 1950s, the number of incidents in the U.S. grew eightfold, reaching 37 per 100,000 population by 1952. The fact that children were most susceptible to the disease made it only more terrifying.

4/15/1954-Detroit, MI- Dr. Jonas Salk, University of Pittsburgh creator of the Salk polio vaccine, which is scheduled to be tested on hundreds of thousands of children this year, is shown as he talked to reporters on his arrival in Detroit en route to Ann Arbor.


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The Press Made The Polio Vaccine Trials Into A Public Spectacle

As a medical breakthrough unfolded in the early 1950s, newspapers filled pages with debates over vaccine science and anecdotes about kids receiving shots

The initial announcement came over the radio one Thursday in March: at last, scientists had developed a vaccine. For decades, communities around the United States had been struck by recurring waves of infectious, debilitating and sometimes deadly virus. The previous year had been a particularly bad one epidemic. Almost 60,000 new cases and more than 3,000 fatalities had been reported, the vast majority of them in young children.

But the campaign for a cure was finally beginning to produce promising developments. And in 1953, the physician Jonas Salk told a national radio audience for the first time that a vaccine had proved successful in preliminary tests. “These studies provide justification for optimism, and it does appear that the approach in these investigations may lead to the desired objective, Salk said. But this has not yet been accomplished..

Maybe, he explained, after more extensive trials, it would effectively inoculate young people against the threat of polio.


Also unprecedented was the methodology for many of the trials: They were the first to employ the double-blind method, in which children were randomly assigned to receive either placebos or a series of three real shots, so that the effects of the vaccine could be observed in comparison with a control.

Annual Updates To The Immunization Schedule 1995 To 2010

As more vaccines became available, an annual update to the schedule was important because of changes that providers needed to know, such as detailed information about who should receive each vaccine, age of receipt, number of doses, time between doses, or use of combination vaccines. New vaccines were also added.

Important changes to the schedule between 1995 and 2010 included:

  • New vaccines: Varicella , rotavirus hepatitis A pneumococcal vaccine
  • Additional recommendations for existing vaccines: influenza hepatitis A
  • New versions of existing vaccines: acellular pertussis vaccine intranasal influenza
  • Discontinuation of vaccine: Oral polio vaccine

2000 | Recommended Vaccines

* Given in combination as DTaP** Given in combination as MMR

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The Future Of Vaccine Safety

The importance of vaccine safety will continue to grow throughout the 21st century. The development and licensure of new vaccines will add to the already robust immunization schedule. Scientists could also perfect new ways of administering immunizations, including edible vaccines and needleless injections. However they are formulated or delivered, vaccines will remain the most effective tool we possess for preventing disease and improving public health in the future.

Early Life And Education

Salt Lake City History – Polio Vaccine Trials and Success

Jonas Salk was born in New York City to Daniel and Dora Salk. His parents were Ashkenazi Jewish Daniel was born in New Jersey to immigrant parents and Dora, who was born in Minsk, emigrated when she was twelve. Salk’s parents did not receive extensive formal education. Jonas had two younger brothers, Herman and Lee, a renowned child psychologist. The family moved from East Harlem to 853 Elsmere Place, the Bronx, with some time spent in Queens at 439 Beach 69th Street, Arverne.

When he was 13, Salk entered Townsend Harris High School, a public school for intellectually gifted students. Named after the founder of City College of New York , it was, wrote his biographer, Dr. David Oshinsky, “a launching pad for the talented sons of immigrant parents who lacked the moneyand pedigreeto attend a top private school.” In high school “he was known as a perfectionist … who read everything he could lay his hands on,” according to one of his fellow students. Students had to cram a four-year curriculum into just three years. As a result, most dropped out or flunked out, despite the school’s motto “study, study, study.” Of the students who graduated, however, most had the grades to enroll in CCNY, noted for being a highly competitive college.:96

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Years After Massive Polio Vaccine Trials Weve Come A Long Way

Dr. Jonas E. Salk and a nurse administer a polio vaccine to Pauline Antloger at Sunnyside school in … Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bettmann Archive

A massive clinical trial of a promising new vaccine against polio ended on this day in 1955. By the end of the year, a program of childhood vaccination had started in the U.S., and new cases of the deadly, paralyzing disease dropped from 35,000 a year in 1952 to just a few hundred a year. 65 years later, medical researchers are racing to develop a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus, and looking back at the polio vaccine underscores just how far weve come.

People started recognizing a disease called infantile paralysis in the 1800s, but it took until 1908 for identify the culprit: a virus we now know as poliovirus, discovered by Karl Landsteiner. That knowledge was small comfort when a polio epidemic struck the U.S. full force in 1916. Phillip Drinkers iron lung saved thousands of lives after its invention in 1928, but there seemed to be no way to protect the worlds children against the virus.

Cultivating Poliovirus In Human Tissue

Scientists in New York City grew the poliovirus in embryonic brain tissue, allowing them to study how the virus spread. However, they were reluctant to create a vaccine in this manner due to the risks associated with using nervous system tissues. This particular study did at least advance the medical communitys understanding of the poliovirus ability to multiply.

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Vaccine Distribution 65 Years Ago

After I received my polio shot, I remember my parents relief.

The polio virus causes flu-like symptoms in most people who catch it. But in a minority of those infected, the brain and spinal cord are affected polio can cause paralysis and even death. With the distribution of Salks vaccine, the much-feared stalker of children and young adults had seemingly been tamed. Within days, however, the initial mass inoculation program went off the rails.

Immediately following the governments licensing of the Salk vaccine, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis contracted with private drug companies for US$9 million worth of vaccine about 90% of the stock. They planned to provide it free to the countrys first and second graders. But just two weeks after the first doses were administered, the Public Health Service reported that six inoculated children had come down with polio.

As the number of such incidents grew, it became clear that some of the shots were causing the disease they were meant to prevent. A single lab had inadvertently released adulterated doses.

After considerable fumbling and outright denial, Surgeon General Leonard Steele first pulled all tainted vaccine off the market. Then, less than a month after the initial inoculations, the U.S. shut down distribution entirely. It wasnt until the introduction of a new polio vaccine in 1960, created by Albert Sabin, that public trust returned.

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