The public's lionization of Dr. Jonas Salk alienates him from his colleagues. His single-mindedness and the speed in which he completes his vaccine, not to mention the heavy backing from the March of Dimes, leads to deep resentment in the scientific world. Salk is driven. And in the race to be the first to produce a polio vaccine, the young doctor fails to submit his research for peer review, a standard practice in the scientific world. One of his biggest rivals is Dr. Albert Sabin, another young American researcher. Around the time Salk produces his polio vaccine, Sabin discovers a vaccine using a live version of the polio virus. Sabin's strain of the polio virus doesn't produce the disease but does cause the body to produce the antibodies needed for immunity. Not surprisingly, Salk is critical of the live virus vaccine. In this exclusive 1977 CBC Television interview, he's quick to point out the dangers of the Sabin vaccine. In extremely rare cases, the Sabin vaccine can actually cause polio - approximately one in every 2.5 million doses. But the ease (it's taken orally) and effectiveness (no need for booster shots) of the Sabin vaccine pushes the Salk vaccine to the sidelines. In 1957, with the support of the World Health Organization, the Sabin vaccine is tested successfully on children from Russia, Holland, Mexico, Chile, Sweden, and Japan. But in the United States, the idea of taking live polio virus is controversial and Sabin has a hard time convincing the U.S. Public Health Service that his version is any better than Salk's vaccine. Eventually the U.S. officials agree to test the Sabin vaccine on April 24, 1960. The vaccine is approved for use a year later and has since become the standard worldwide.
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Sabin called Salk a "kitchen chemist," who lacked original ideas. He was referring to the fact that Salk received most of the scientific glory when Harvard researcher John Enders had completed a key part of the research in 1948.
It was Dr. Enders who discovered a revolutionary way to actually grow the polio virus in test tubes. His research provided vaccine hunters enough virus to work with.
Many in the scientific community say Enders was the undisputed hero in the fight against polio. Enders received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954 for his polio research, along with his colleges Frederick Robbins and Thomas Weller. Jonas Salk never received the award.
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Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico