Salon: How a debate over two competing vaccines gripped the medical community — in 1961

Polio vaccine developed by UC's Albert Sabin embraced by world, then U.S. 60 years ago

When a polio epidemic swept across the globe for much of the 20th century, a pair of researchers raced to develop a vaccine to halt the disabling virus that could lead to paralysis. 

Salon.com is out with an in-depth feature story about the efforts of Albert Sabin, a University of Cincinnati researcher, and Jonas Salk, a University of Pittsburgh scientist. Both are credited with incredible breakthroughs that ultimately led to eliminating the virus in most of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, no cases have originated in the United States since 1979.

Dr. Albert Sabin in his lab

Dr. Albert B. Sabin was a pre-eminent medical investigator from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital who dedicated his life to researching the causes and cures of viruses and disease.

According to the Salon article, "the U.S. felt that Salk's vaccine had solved the polio problem and there was no need for another vaccine. So, Sabin turned to other countries for support.

"In the Soviet Union, millions of people participated in a clinical trial. With its success established, the Soviet Union began manufacturing Sabin's vaccine. It is remarkable that at the height of the Cold War an American polio vaccine got its first foothold in the communist world. Eventually, Sabin's vaccine would be approved for use in the United States in 1961 and, in a victory for Sabin, replaced Salk's vaccine in 1962."

Read the complete article

Featured image at top: Albert Sabin, MD, administers the live oral polio vaccine to children. 

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